Twelve Angry Men Reginald RoseYear 12 English and ESLText Study Reading and RespondingEkaterina Xanthopoulos
The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government Scales of Justice
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Life in the1950s
Reginald Rose1920-2002 and born/grew up in New YorkEnlisted and served in WWII until 1946Wrote since being a teenager, for TV plays, many plays made into films and TV series1954 first time called for jury duty manslaughter case eight hours before unanimous vote wrote Twelve Angry Men as live one-hour legal drama which later became a filmWon many awards, such as Emmys
Setting1957 - A very hot summer afternoonIn a jury room of a New York Court of LawDescribed as scarred tablea large, drab bare room in need of paintingOppressive, stifling: The Guard exits and in the silence the sound is heard of the door being locked.It has grown considerably darker in the room and its oppressively still.Jurors at times move to washroom
Plot/synopsisYoung man accused of murder in the first degree premeditated homicideTwelve jurors locked in a jury room to determine if there is a reasonable doubtInitially all but one juror find him Guilty but with discussion, arguments and persuasion all change to Not guiltyQuestion ability of defence counsel and accounts of witnesses as well as use of evidence also strip away layers of prejudice, artifice, fancy
What is reasonable doubtReasonable Doubt is explained thusly:
That state of minds of jurors in which they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction as to the truth of the charge.Source: Charles Montaldo
In the play, both the jurors and audience must decide in the end if they agree never given proof of the defendants innocence 100%
GKR: GuiltyOxford English Reference Dictionary definition: Law: adjudged to have committed a (specified) offence, especially by a verdict in a trial (1995)
PARAPHRASE THIS MEANINGWHAT IS YOUR MEANING?LIST 3 SYNONYMS and ANTONYMS
Vocabulary add more to list
wordmeaningsynonymdefendantcounselwitnessprosecutorhung jurypremeditated murderMETALANGUAGEscriptdialoguepropsstage directions
CharactersWhy are they anonymous?Why are there 12 people in a jury? Why is the first juror called FOREMAN and what are his duties?
In groups of three, quickly research and discuss these questions and report back to class 10 minutes
What motivates a character?
Themes/Ideas/Views and ValuesJustice and the court/jury system jurys deliberation and decisionWhat is truth is it fallible?Memory witness accountsWhat is a fact can details be twisted?PrejudiceStereotypes and classReasonable doubt VS certaintyHistorical Context: McCarthyism - use of trials in 1950s AND use of television drama
Genre and structureDrama serious play Realism and Naturalism explore daily life a slice of life 1950s movementLegal drama but also about interactions between charactersTwo acts and all characters remain on stage despite washroom visitsEmploys Aristotles unity of action, place and time less than a day
Language and DialogueNatural language patterns of era and geographical setting of the playWorking-class men yet different ie some white collar, share cultural interest in sport and film same vernacular: ought to be down in Atlantic City at that hairsplitters convention.Use legal terms comfortably: reasonable doubt, defendant, counsel, evidence
Play TechniquesSetting description of roomProps/sets bare, minimalCostume clothing of JURORsStage directions what they doStage of jury room and washroomLighting darkening It is now darker than before due to weather and atmosphere of tensionSound Judges voice, etc.
What to do:Read the play at least twice Summarise in point form each sceneTakes notes on each characterCollect quotes and group them under headingsAsk yourself: What is the message or point of this play? What questions does the plot raise?Answer the set questionsVocabularyReflect upon each reading and how your views/readings changeWhich character do you like/dislike the most? Why?How does the language in the play influence and position the audience? What about the stage directions and props?