12 Angry Men Lesson Plan

Reginald Rose composed the first variation of 12 Angry Guys for live television broadcast in 1954; it was directed by Frank Schaffner, and only a partial recording endures. The play was loosely based on Rose’s own experience serving on a jury. Rose integrated that experience with the styles of justice and democracy that underlay all of his work; in relationship to the racial social upheaval happening in America at that time and the Army-McCarthy hearings that had actually ended only just recently, in which numerous prominent Americans (consisting of a considerable number of artists) were implicated of being associated with the Communist Celebration.

Rose worked together with legendary movie director Sidney Lumet to develop the 1957 film adjustment starring Henry Fonda. The movie was an important and industrial success. It was nominated for numerous Academy Awards and, in subsequent decades, turned into one of Lumet’s best-known motion pictures.

In the decades that followed, 12 Angry Men was also produced onstage, consisting of on Broadway and London’s West End. Rose as soon as again adjusted the script to suit the needs of its various media.

Secret Elements of 12 Angry Men


The play is a major realist drama, taking a weighty however factual tone.


12 Angry Guys is set in a jury space in New York City in the summer season of 1957. The whole play takes place in this one space.

Point of view

Considering that 12 Angry Guys is a play, and all twelve characters are onstage for its whole duration, the play does not have a “viewpoint” per se. However the main protagonist is the 8th Juror, and his primary antagonist is the 3rd Juror. Nevertheless, a number of other characters contribute significantly to the plot: it is the 10th Juror who exposes the bigotry that underlies the trial, and the 9th Juror on whose awareness much of the vote turns.

Character advancement

The 8th Juror begins the play alone and unpredictable of his position, however sure that he can not send a boy to the electric chair without some form of conversation. By the end of the play, he has swayed the other males to his side, and has actually acquired a good deal of confidence in his perspective.

The 3rd Juror begins the play absolutely certain the offender is guilty, and changes his stance just in the last minute of the play, when he understands, assisted by the other jurors, that he has been predicting his own family life and mental requirements onto the facts of the case.

The 4th Juror begins confident that he has looked at the entire case through a simply logical lens; his discovery comes near the end of the play, when the 9th Juror’s observation leads him to understand that it was still possible for him to neglect information. This prompts affordable doubt.

The 10th Juror begins the play certain that he is in the right, and that the other jurors share his biases. The discussion that takes place during the play, and the rejection of his bias by the other jurors, does not alter his mind about “these people,” but does lead him to question the social rightness of his beliefs.

Most of the other jurors go through smaller sized shifts and discoveries during the play too. For instance, the 7th Juror goes from not caring about the result to being truly convinced the accused is innocent; the 2nd Juror goes from shy approval to speaking up for himself and his beliefs; the fifth Juror goes from defensiveness about his background to confidence in the knowledge it has actually given him.



Race is never explicitly mentioned in the script of 12 Angry Men, however its resonance is clear from the 10th Juror’s consistent references to “these individuals,” naming the offender and his neighbors as outsiders to the all-white jury. In the film, where the all-white jury and the non-white defendant are aesthetically clear, it is made specific that “these individuals” implies Latino individuals; in the play, where the accused never appears, the 10th Juror might be describing any racial minority.


Socioeconomic class underlies the social characteristics of the jurors in 12 Angry Men. The fifth Juror is influenced to speak up for himself and the offender and, later on, to alter his vote, due to the fact that of his class background; the 4th Juror’s special reliance on reasoning is attributed to his educated and profitable occupation. The 3rd Juror’s sensation that he “started from nothing” before ending up being an effective business owner leads him to relate to the victim, who resided in poverty; the 10th Juror and the 7th Juror attract class affiliation in casting the “not guilty” citizens adversely as “intellectuals.”


Has justice truly been served by the end of 12 Angry Men!.?. !? It’s hard to state. Definitely the 8th Juror has swayed the others to the position of “sensible doubt,” but we’re introduced to no other real suspects for the murder, nor does the offender’s story necessarily appear any more powerful when the witnesses’ statements are cast into doubt. The play checks out the elusiveness of justice, its intricacies and subtleties.

Questioning and Democracy

The idea of asking concerns is main to the play, and as the 11th Juror explains, asking concerns is a tenet of democratic responsibility. To be part of a democracy is to question its operations; to be part of a trial is to question the method it was carried out.


The play is centered on a violent criminal offense; although we never ever really witness that crime, we hear it explained clearly, and we hear many characters threaten violence towards one another. Violence is treated not as exceptional, however as a part of daily life and behavior.



The switchblade knife signifies unpredictability. It appears in the beginning the most concrete proof of the young man’s regret; nevertheless, when the 8th Juror has the ability to buy a precise reproduction of the knife, it brings true doubt to the minds of a few of the other jurors.


In 12 Angry Guys, the window in the jury room symbolizes openness. It connects the jury room with reality, with the outdoors world; the 8th Juror wait the window at the beginning of the play because he is, at that point, the only one available to another interpretation of the realities; nevertheless, more characters are attentive to the window as the play goes on.


The weather in 12 Angry Guys shows the state of mind of the jury space: the heat in the very first act shows the pressure the men feel, the rain in the second act the emotional turmoil that most of the characters have actually withstood.

The Jurors

On a specific level, the jurors themselves are symbolic of different social viewpoints. The 10th Juror, for instance, is an archetype of “the bigot,” the 8th Juror is a sign of openmindedness, the 11th Juror a sign of the outsider’s point of view on American justice, and so forth.


The climax of the play happens when the 3rd Juror, the last holdout, decides to change his vote from “guilty” to “not guilty.”


12 Angry Guys is a two-act play that occurs entirely in a New York City jury room. It happens in real time, without pauses or lapses, and shows in information the psychological responses of each character.

You Might Also Like