Reginald Rose. TWELVE ANGRY MEN. content. Still a text but a play, not a novel Context Legal terms No names Characters Themes Symbols Structure Language Metalanguage. Stage directions Key scenes Guilty or innocent? Question types High scoring responses What now?.
Brand new text, replaces the most popular text of the last few years, the film ‘Look Both Ways’
An awareness of context is important in order to shape how you interpret Rose’s messages
Understand the terms but express them in your own way or you’ll sound like a legal studies text book.
No names are ever referenced – characters are known to the audience by their juror numbers
OTHERS WORTH A LOOK
Weather/Heat – ongoing tension, parallels to action in the room, adds to the physical discomfort, often a conversation starter, the storm indicates a shift in psyche for many of the jurors
Two Acts – Act One ends after Juror 3’s outburst and threats to kill Juror 8
Symbolism – The weather provides a pathetic fallacy for the growing tension between the jurors. Just as the storm looms outside, so too does the pressure within the room grow to a climax.
Foreshadowing – Multiple statements are made by the jurors which foreshadow events in the play. Consider: ‘everyone has a breaking point’, ‘witnesses make mistakes’ and ‘prejudice obscures the truth’.
Setting – Establishing the setting of the play in the confines of a small jury room exacerbates the tension experienced by the men. That a decision of significant gravity is to be made in a drab and ordinary room, mirroring the decisions that people make on a day to day basis which also have momentous consequences.
Motif – The knife, a recurring motif in the play is at the heart of a number of turning points in the play.Metalanguage
That the guilt or innocence is never revealed to the audience, whilst frustrating for some, is not important. Rose intends for the focus of the play to be the jurors and their deliberations and suggests that it is better to free a guilty man than to convict an innocent one. It is a question which bothers some of the jurors, even Juror 8 who is the first to vote not guilty. Reasonable doubt though is not held up to be a perfect safeguard, rather just a safeguard in system which itself is not perfect.Guilty or innocent?
In voting ‘not guilty’ first, Juror 8 demonstrates the most integrity of all the jurors. Do you agree?
Prejudice is both a dangerous inhibitor to justice and also a promoter. Discuss.
Rose’s stage directions are as important to the action of the play as the characters’ dialogue. Discuss.
Rose legitimises the role of the jury within the judicial system. Do you agree?
Will treat this text as a play and fluently integrate stage directions into their writing