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Twelve Angry Men

Reginald Rose's play Twelve Angry Men has an unusual and fascinating genesis. Initially written as a teleplay for live television in 1954, the drama was then adapted for a feature film in 1957 (winning Oscars for Best Picture and Best Screenplay for Rose), and several years later adapted for the theatre as a three-act play. Since then the play has been performed throughout the world. A theatre adaptation is more limited in its variety of production values by its very nature; there is no camera for framing or close-ups, for example, to focus on a particular character's face, or image. The immediacy and drama of the power of the script depends almost solely on the performances of the actors. In this play, the set functions almost as another "character."

Twelve Angry Men is a single set play, and the scenery, furniture and props are used to create the minimalist, dingy, stifling jury room in which the 12 men of the title find themselves locked into when they are instructed by the judge to deliberate the fate of a 19-year old charged with the murder of his father. Before analyzing the set, and how it affects the characters, an analysis of the play itself is necessary.

The 12 men of the title are jurors, stuck inside a small jury room in the New York City Criminal Justice Court Building to examine the evidence and deliver a verdict of guilty or not guilty. Since this is a capital offense, a guilty verdict ensures that the accused gets the electric chair, as was the New York law at the time. A verdict of guilty seems obvious to the jurors who all want to get out of the humid, hot room (it is "the hottest day of the year") and return to their normal activities as soon as possible. "It's an open and shut case," declares Juror No. 3. An initial vote has 11 voting guilty and one dissenter, Juror No. 8 who believes that before you sentence someone to death you need to discuss and deliberate. It's not that Juror No. 8 believes the defend...

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Twelve Angry Men. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 22:57, June 24, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1702809.html