Set in the sweltering summer of 1954, Reginald Rose’s socially insightful play “Twelve Angry Men”, illustrates the dangers of a justice system that relies on twelve individuals to reach a “life or death” decision with collective states of minds hindered by “personal prejudice”. At the conception of the play, rose explores the idea that doubt is a harder state of mind than certainty by portraying doubt, in the guilt of the boy, as a minority view within the courtroom. However, as the play progresses a seed of doubt is planted and the importance of self prejudice hindering the verdict is removed, making it harder for the jurors to hold their certainty in their guilty verdict.
At the conception of Twelve Angry Men, Rose exposes the audience to the devastating heat in the jury room which over looks the “New York sky line” on what is described as “the hottest day of the the year”. At this stage it is revealed to the audience the apathetic nature of jury members, uninterested in the “grave responsibility” they have in deciding the fate of the “16 year old boys life” and more interested with the goal of escaping the plain, oven like jury room. With each juror being blinded by the thick glaze of heat In front of them a verdict of guilty becomes the instinctive state of mind and the room for reasonable doubt is eliminated from all but one. The author, Reginald Rose displays through juror 8 that to be doubtful when challenging a majority becomes a harder state of mind, “as it’s not easy to stand alone against the ridicule of other” at this moment juror 8 initiates his campaign that we can never be certain about anything, we can only make assumptions based on the information provided.
As juror 8’s campaign continues, and the seed of doubt planted into the “guilty” minded jury members is fertilised thorough the analysing of facts the reasonable doubt slowly grows in the jurors minds, the audience begin to create an understanding that doubt is an easier state of mind than certainty, as to be doubtful you are not accountable to that single view, as we are reminded in the text from juror 8 “I don’t know whether I believe it or not” parting him from the majority but lowering the conflict, as he is not certain about the innocence of the boy rather not feeling not comfortable to raise his “hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first”, making the doubtful state of mind an easier sense of conscience although a harder sense to preach onto the other jury members who consist of the majority.
Towards the conclusion of the play twelve angry men, doubt begins to become an easier state of mind as the persuasion of doubt is created through a range of events that after previously being concrete are now questioned, and the “not guilty” verdict is now the majority verdict, this releases the oppressively hot environment of the jury room through the delivery of rain, representing a Burst of relief and fresh air for the jurors. Although, Reginald Rose decisively leaves one jury member (3) who is still stuck in the train of personal prejudice and believes the kid “knifed his father 6 inches into the chest”. Juror 3s certain state of mind portrays him as the villain of twelve angry men, a man who is blinded by his own personal outside influences and is illustrated as a stubborn man with no “integrity” when defending his view of “guilty”, this shows that his state of mind being “guilty” now becomes the harder state of mind as he is left as the minority, and could not separate personal prejudice when dealing with the fate of another’s life, effecting his judgement.
After juror 3 finally splits his relationship between his son and the 16 year old boy on trial a “not-guilty” verdict is delivered to the judge. Reginald Rose shows his intended audience at the conception of the film that doubt is the harder state of mind as juror 8 views on the boy and trial is challenging the majority, although throughout the progression of the play, not one juror member is able to hold his certainty, making doubt an easier state of mind as they do not have to hold a certain point of view and are not accountable to that single certain view.