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Twelve Angry Men

Autor:   •  March 29, 2013  •  Essay  •  965 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,000 Views

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“Twelve Angry Men demonstrates the importance of examining closely the evidence presented in court.” How significant is the examination of the evidence in influencing the final verdict?

Twelve Angry Men, by playwright Reginald Rose, demonstrates how very significant the close examination of the evidence is when it comes to influencing the final verdict. One of the ways in which it explores this is by initially giving jurors seemingly straightforward pieces of evidence and testimonies, only to then have them turn into more complicated, circumstantial pieces as the play develops. As a verdict of guilty would have resulted in the death penalty for the young defendant, the examination of the evidence meant life or death, and therefore jurors needed to be rigorous and thorough in their examination of the case, it’s evidence and it’s witness testimonies.

The evidence shown in court appeared clear-cut and beyond question. The witnesses testimonies, the knife evidence and the whereabouts of the defendant the night of the murder immediately made up several of the jurors minds in terms of the defendant’s guilt. As Juror 6 says, “I was convinced from the first day.” The representation of all the evidence in court determined the jurors (mostly narrow-minded and prejudiced) views of the case. They did not feel the need to question its credibility, until certain points about the evidence was brought up such as the position of the stab wound and the woman’s eyesight. By closely examining the evidence, the jurors were able to realise it wasn’t as reliable and factual as it appeared. The jurors needed to question what constitutes as a 'fact' when examining the evidence presented. When they did do this, the end result of the case turned out very differently in comparison to how it would have turned out if the jurors hadn’t given the evidence much second thought. Instead of voting guilty, as 11 of them had been prepared to do, after reasonable examination they voted not guilty and subsequently saved a boy’s life.

The further examination of the knife was an important part of influencing the final verdict. Jurors 8 and 9 had been standing alone and had been ready to declare the jury hung until the knife evidence is focused on. It was mentioned, by Juror 5 (who had grown up in the slums, like the defendant), that the way the knife was used to kill the victim would have been done by someone who had little experience in using a knife. It had been made clear previously that the defendant knew exactly how to use a knife - “he’s real quick with switch knives, they said.” Several jurors dismiss this point, saying it doesn’t really matter

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