12 Angry Men Character Analysis Essay

The dramatic play of 12 Angry Men, authored by Reginald Rose in 1955, focuses on a jury’s deliberations concerning a homicide trial. The trial revolves around a 16-year-old boy who is accused of stabbing his father to death. A guilty verdict means an automatic death sentence for the boy. Throughout the play Juror three displays his flaws as a result of his prejudice but he is not the most flawed as others demonstrate similar tendencies. Nevertheless, he is quite unrealistic, like his fellow jurors. In the heat of disputes over the facts of the murder case juror three, amongst other jurors, exhibits unseemly character traits.

12 Angry Jurors Character Analysis

12 Angry Men is a play by Reginald Rose. It was first published in 1954. The play is set in New York City, in a jury room of a criminal court. 12 men are sitting on a hot, stuffy room, discussing the fate of a young man who is accused of murder.

Each juror has his own opinion and they all start to argue with each other. Some of them want to find the boy guilty because they think he is guilty, while others want to find him not guilty because they think there is reasonable doubt.

The 12 jurors are:

1. Juror #1: The Foreman – He is the leader of the jury and tries to keep everyone focused and on track.

2. Juror #2: The Messenger – He is the one who brings the news of the verdict to the judge.

3. Juror #3: The Angry Man – He is angry at the world and doesn’t trust anyone.

4. Juror #4: The Intelligent Man – He is the one who uses his intelligence to try to figure out what really happened.

5. Juror #5: The Quiet Man – He is the one who doesn’t say much, but when he does speak, everyone listens.

6. Juror #6: The Skeptic – He is the one who doubts everything and everyone.

7. Juror #7: The Businessman – He is more concerned with getting back to his business than he is with finding the truth.

8. Juror #8: The foreigner – He is new to America and doesn’t really understand how the court system works.

9. Juror #9: The Old Man – He is the one who wants everyone to just get along and come to a decision.

10. Juror #10: The Bigoted Man – He is prejudice against anyone who is not like him.

11. Juror #11: The Honest Man – He is the one who just wants to find the truth, no matter what it is.

12. Juror #12: The Young Man – He is the one who is most likely to find the boy innocent because he can relate to him.

Furthermore, he and other jurors put forth unrealistic arguments based on impossible evidence. However, in both situations, the cause is the jurors’ extreme prejudice. Certain jurors reveal negative character traits demonstrating their flawed nature and at times nearly attack their fellow jurors. For instance, Juror three attacked the eighth juror simply because he disagreed with him. He shouted “you make up some wild stories” and as then, Reginald Rose tells us, “the 3rd Juror lunge[d] wildly at the 8th juror”. However, this does not prove that he is the most flawed as Juror ten also performs a similar action.

He “suddenly angry” exclaimed to the eighth juror “you’re pretty smart… aren’t you? “. In an attempt to assault him “the 10th juror crosses to the 8th juror” but he is stopped as “several jurors rise … to intercept the 10th juror”. If not for the opposition of other jurors the 10th juror would definitely have committed an action similar to that of the third juror. The seventh juror also exhibits an extreme case of apathy towards the life of others. This is clearly demonstrated when the ninth juror tells the seventh juror to be patient with the jury’s discussion because “a boy may die”.

12 Angry Men Character Traits

The Characters Traits of the 12 Angry Men can be divided into two main categories: those who exhibit negative traits and those who exhibit positive traits. The negative traits are anger, arrogance, bullying, closed-mindedness, and superficiality. The positive traits are courage, fairness, eloquence, logic, and respect.

Those who exhibit negative traits tend to be aggressive and difficult to work with. They may be quick to anger, and may not think things through before they act. They may also be disrespectful or dismissive of others.

Those who exhibit positive traits tend to be more level-headed and able to see both sides of an issue. They are usually fair-minded, and can articulate their thoughts well. They may also be more respectful of others, and more willing to listen to different points of view.

However the seventh juror displayed his complete lack of concern by replying “Brother! Anybody got a deck of cards? “. It is, therefore, evident that Although juror three is not the most flawed, he and others reveal themselves to possess unconstrained negative tendencies. Moreover, the third Juror, as well as others, defends his arguments unrealistically by providing inaccurate and nonoccur-able evidence. In an attempt to defend his position as deeming the boy “guilty of murder” he states that “Anybody [who] says… ‘I’m gonna kill you”… the way he said it… hey mean it”.

This piece of evidence is faulty because the third Juror is testifying the evidence as if he was present at the murder scene which he was not. The Fifth Juror also presents unrealistic evidence to prove that the boy would only have murdered his father by handling the knife a certain way. He claims “anyone who’s ever handled a switch knife’d never handle it any other way”. However, the 5th Juror cannot be so sure that the boy did not use the knife a different way when he murdered his father because he did not witness the crime.

Another example of unrealistic evidence is provided by Juror Ten as he mentions numerous times “these people are born to lie and murder”. One cannot simply assume something so definite about anyone, let alone an entire group of people. This clearly demonstrates the fact that there are many instances of unrealistic evidence and the 3rd Juror is amongst those who provided such proofs. However, the showcase of the flaws buried within the hearts of the jurors and their tendency to provide impossible evidence is due to the fact that they are prejudiced.

For example, Juror three publicly proclaimed “I’ve got one [son]… hen he was sixteen we had a battle”. Perhaps the fact that he quarrelled with his son subconsciously made him want to take revenge on the boy on trial. This can be further proven when stubbornly refuses to vote “not guilty” and says “I can feel the knife going in”. The Eighth juror replies “he’s not your son” and only then does the 3rd juror agree to vote not guilty which shows that his personal prejudice caused him to fight for the accused to be killed.

He attacked the Eighth juror (as previously mentioned) because the latter was trying to defend the boy to the extent that he was asked “are you the kid’s lawyer? . The 5th Juror attempts to prove that there is no way the boy could have dered his father to ‘clean up his own name. Since he had “lived in a slum all [his] life” just like the boy accused of murder, he wanted to prove that murder did not happen in slums at least by demonstrating that this specific case of homicide did not happen. He, therefore, does as mentioned above and is certain that “the boy is pretty handy with a knife” and would therefore only use it “underhanded” making it impossible for him to have committed the murder.

He is certain that this is so and uses words like “never” and “for sure”. Although such evidence is impossible because he can never be sure since he did not witness the scene it does show us his prejudice. From these two instances, it is apparent that prejudice drives jurors to express negative traits and provide unrealistic evidence to prove their prejudices. Evidently, Reginald Rose demonstrates that although Juror three is not the most flawed he is unrealistic.

Nevertheless, he is not unique as other jurors portray similar characteristics but in both instances, it is a result of prejudice. Many jurors are flawed as they perform unlawful actions, juror three included, and some exhibit a lack of concern. These men also produce unrealistic evidence as does juror three. However, this comes as a result of their prejudice. Prejudice is the driving force behind the jurors’ impulse to lose control and act in an unseemly manner and provide impossible arguments. However, juror three is not the most extreme in any of these situations.