Twelve angry men, by Reginald rose demonstrates that humans are flawed. Rose shows the flaws across those involved with the trial including the defendant himself, the twelve jurors and the witnesses. The play shows that flaws are not only a negative but can be as a positive. The play advocates accepting the realities of our flaws so that we may carry on with our lives in the best way possible. Twelve angry men shows the extensive imperfections human have.
The trial draws on a rather bleak image of humanity the crime in question is first degree murder most serious charge tried in our courtroom’ the victim is not portrayed as innocent but as a ‘tough, cruel, primitive kind of man’ the lawyers on the case too are described as not doing their job properly and lacking the motivation to investigate the possibilities Human flaws are shown all around the trial. the witnesses in twelve angry men had flaws which could have had a profound impact on the case. the witnesses memory is in question as they seemed to be sure and very convincing that they were key witnesses in the murder.
the second witness even said she saw the boy with the knife killing his father’ however as the 8th juror questions her eye sight they conclude her poor sight questiones the accuracy of her testimony. the on stage characters also are shown to be imperfect. each juror has there own deficiencies or less than ideal qualities, these emerge through their interactions with eachother or their attitudes towards their trial. juror 10 is predjudice regularly using stereotypes to condemn the defendsant without actually considering if what he is saying is true.
such as ‘a very big drinker’ or a born liar’ the third juror is guilty of stereotyping the defendant based on age, and he defends his opinions and stereotypes violently in the jury room, such as his near attack on 8th juror at the end of the first act. the play does not let a single character escape unflawed. even 8th juror, constructed as a gentle, admirable character and one with whom we should empathise, is not perfect. he himself admits that he broke the law’ buying the switch- knife in order to make his point about reasonable doubt.
flaws are not just clear cut behaviours like prejudice, violence or crime. in many cases, characters’ fallibitilies are the resultsof qualities that are, of themselves, not necessarily considered negative. for example, in the jury- room discussion, when 8th juror discredits the testimony of the first witness, he doesn’t accuse the witness of lying. instead, other jurors argue that he is a ‘frightened, insignificant old man who was been nothing all his life’, and perhaps these factors led him to unconsciously convince himself of his own testimony.
his inaccurate testimony is not the result of intentional or malicious behaviour, but simply of basic human fallibility. the jurors, therefore do not hold a grudge against him, nor does the play suggest that such flaws are evidence of a hopless world. instead we are reminded that behaviour is always complex and influenced by many variables, and that we should simply be aware of this. the play examines flaws as innate human qualities, but this fact is not presented in a pessimistic way – human imperfection is never portrayed as evidence that there are.
Courtney from Study Moose