Lesson 7& 8 Twelve Angry Men
I. Introduction to the Author
Reginald Rose was one of the outstanding television playwrights to emerge from the "Golden Age" of television drama anthologyseries.Although most of Rose's fame derives from his teleplays for the live drama anthologies, he wrote a number of successful screen and stage plays, and went on to create and write scripts for The Defenders at CBS, as well as winning recognition for the revived CBS Playhouse in the late 1960s.
Rose's first teleplay to be broadcast was The Bus to Nowhere, which appeared on Studio One (CBS) in 1951. It was the 1954-55 season, however, that gave Rose his credentials as a top writer: that year has been referred to as "the Reginald Rose season" at Studio One. His contributions included the noted plays 12:32 a.m., An Almanacof Liberty, Crime in the Streets, as well as the play that opened the season and became perhaps Rose's most well-known work, Twelve Angry Men. In addition to winning numerous awards and undergoing transformation into a feature film, Twelve Angry Men undoubtedly established Rose's reputation almost immediately as a major writer of drama for television.
The tension created by exhausting deliberationswithin the confined closeness of the jury room in which Twelve Angry Men occurs is exemplary in this regard. Rose was responsible in part for the creation of this new approach. This realism that became known as the "slice of life" school of television drama was for a time the staple of the anthology shows and reshaped the look of both television and American cinema.
Comments from the Author
Twelve Angry Men is the only play Ive written which has any relation at all to actual personal experience. A month or so before I began the play I sat on the jury of manslaughter case in New Yorks General Sessions Court. This was my first experience on a jury, and it left quite an impression on me. The receipt of my jury notice activated many grumblings and mutterings, most of which began with lines like eight million people in New York and they have to call me! All the prospective jurors I met in the waiting room the first day I appeared had the same grim, horribly persecuted attitude.
But, strangely, the moment I walked into the courtroom to be empanelled and found myself facing a strange man whose fate was suddenly more or less in my hands, my entire attitude changed. I was hugely impressed with the almost frightening stillness of the courtroom, the impassive, mask-like face of the judge, the brisk, purposeful scurrying of the various officials in the room, and the absolute finality of the decision I and my fellow jurors would have to make at the end of the trial. I doubt whether I have ever been so impressed in my life with a role I had to play. And I suddenly became so earnest that, in thinking about it later, I probably was unbearable to the eleven other jurors.
It occurred to me during the trial that no one anywhere ever knows what goes on inside a jury room but the jurors, and I thought then that a play taking place entirely within a jury room might be an exciting and possibly moving experience for an audience.
Actually, the outline of Twelve Angry Men, which I began shortly after the trial ended, took longer to write than the script itself. The movements in the play were so intricate that I wanted to have theme down on paper to the last detail before I began the construction of the dialogue. I worked on the idea and outline for a week and was stunned by the time I was finished to discover that the outline was twenty-seven typewritten pages long. The average outline is perhaps five pages long, and many are as short as one or two pages. This detailed setting down of the moves of the play paid off, however. The script was written in five days and could have been done in four had I not written it approximately fifteen pages too long.
In writing Twelve Angry Men I attempted to blend four elements which I had seen at work in the jury room during my jury service. There elements are : a) the evidence as remembered and interpreted by each individual juror (the disparities here were incredible) b) the relationship of jury to furor in a life-and-death situation c) the emotional pattern of each individual juror and d) physical problems such as the weather, the time, the uncomfortable room, etc. All of these elements are of vital importance in any jury room, and all of them presented excellent dramatic possibilities.
II. Background Knowledge1. Useful Legal Terms2. Jury Trial in the United States3. Court System
1.Useful Legal TermsGroup 1:
judicial systemjudicial proceedingscriminal lawcivil lawcriminal courtcivil court
the accused/ the defendantthe accuserthe prosecutordefense lawyerjudgeattorney generaljurygrand jurywitnessa ex-convict
verdictsentenceacquittal testify testimony identifycross-examinationconvict appealoverrulesustain
2. Jury Trial in the United StatesThe jury trial is an important component in the U.S. judicial system. The jury consists of 12 jurors, selected at random, agreed on by the lawyers of the two sides, who will, after hearing all the evidenced and cross-examination and careful deliberation, give a verdict of guilty or not guilty. Today no jury would be made up entirely of men any more. Women now serve on juries as much as men.
JuryJury: is a group of up to 12 people, called Jurorswhose duty it is to listen to the evidence given in a court trial and decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. The decision is called a verdict. If the verdict is not guilty, the accused is set free or acquitted; if the verdict is guilty, the judge will give the sentence.
3. Court System The accused is deemed innocent until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In many jurisdictions, the majority of a jury is not sufficient to find a defendant guilty of a felony. A trial does not aim at discovering who commit a particular crime, but rather the innocence or guilt of the accused. The system is not infallible and can be quite precarious.
A criminal courtA criminal court is a court of law which hears cases brought by the state against a person or a corporation which has violated a criminal law enacted by the legislature.
If we want to discuss it first then vote, thats one way or we can vote right now to see how we stand.Mean: One way for us to do is to discuss first then vote. The other way for us to do is to vote at once to find out the position of jurors whether we agree or not, or we need further discussion on this case.Vote
A ballot(paper) is a system of voting or an occasion when you vote on a piece of paper on to write your decision.Eg. Representatives were elected by ballot.Eg. They decide to hold a ballot.Eg. Lets put it to the ballot.
III. Pre-class Questions
1.Whats your first impression of American judicial system? Compared with Chinese one, can you list the advantages and disadvantages of American judicial system?
2.Why do you think the author gives The Twelve Angry Men as the title of the play?
The Twelve Jurors: A summary of the anonymous characters helps to flesh out their characters and backgrounds. The order in which each eventually decides to vote "not guilty" is given in brackets:
Juror #1 : A high-school assistant head coach, doggedly concerned to keep the proceedings formal and maintain authority; easily frustrated and sensitive when someone objects to his control; inadequate for the job as foreman, not a natural leader and over-shadowed by Juror # 8's natural leadership  Juror #2: A wimpy, balding bank clerk/teller, easily persuaded, meek/humble, hesitant, goes along with the majority, eagerly offers cough drops to other men during tense times of argument; better memory than # 4 about film title 
Juror #3: Runs a messenger service, a bullying, rude and husky man, extremely opinionated and biased/prejudiced, completely intolerant, forceful and loud-mouthed, temperamental and vengeful; estrangement from his own teenaged son causes him to be hateful and hostile toward all young people (and the defendant); arrogant, quick-angered, quick-to-convict, and defiant until the very end  Juror #4: Well-educated, smug and conceited, well-dressed stockbroker, wealthy; studious, methodical, possesses an incredible recall and grasp of the facts of the case; commonsensical, dispassionate, cool-headed and rational, yet stuffy and prim; often displays a stern glare; treats the case like a puzzle to be deductively solved rather than as a case that may send the defendant to death; claims that he never sweats 
Juror #5: Naive, insecure, frightened, reserved; has a slum-dwelling upbringing that the case resurrects in his mind; a guilty vote would distance him from his past;  Juror #6: A typical "working man," dull-witted, experiences difficulty in making up his own mind, a follower; probably a manual laborer or painter; respectful of older juror and willing to back up his words with fists  Juror #7: Clownish, impatient salesman (of marmalade the previous year), a flashy dresser, gum-chewing, baseball fan who wants to leave as soon as possible to attend evening game; uses baseball metaphors and references throughout all his statements (he tells the foreman to "stay in there and pitch"); lacks complete human concern for the defendant and for the immigrant juror; extroverted; votes with the majority 
Juror #8: An architect, instigates/arouses a thoughtful reconsideration of the case against the