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Twelve Angry Men Is Less About Innocence and Guilt and More About Reasonable Doubt

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The jurors cannot base their certainty on concrete evidence as the play indicates that very few facts are absolute because (quote). Instead, they must make up their minds based on the apparent likelihood of various events and on their own personal beliefs. Rose portrays that when it is difficult to maintain certainty about one's beliefs, in this case the innocence or guilt of the boy, doubt is a reasonable and intelligent state of mind. This is proven by the 4th Juror and the 11th Juror when they say they " ... now have reasonable doubt". Each of the jurors has a different degree of certainty about the opinions they hold, but cannot be completely sure, as the 9th Juror points out "He doesn't say the boy is not guilty. He just isn't sure." From this it is clear that the play is less about guilt and innocence and more about reasonable doubt.

The play is less about the innocence or guilt of the defendant and more about reasonable doubt because if the jurors have any doubt at all about the validity, reliability or accuracy of the evidence, they must render a vote of 'not guilty'. The 8th Juror's arguments and series of alternative possible explanations for various details of the case, challenges the other jurors' certainty and offers valid reason to reasonably doubt the defendant's guilt. The potentially deceptive testimonies given by the two witnesses are in question by the end of the play. The inaccuracy of the testimonies provides room for reasonable doubt because 8th Juror believes that "Testimony that could put a human being in to the electric chair should be that accurate. From the beginning of the play the jurors are informed by the judge that "If there is any reasonable doubt - then you must bring me a verdict of 'not guilty'" and the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution gives enough reason for the jurors to do this. Even though, the 'not guilty' verdict in this particular case could be easily wrong, it is portrayed as a far better alternative than an innocent man being wrongly convicted. The law allows the jurors to have reasonable doubt and the 8th Juror backs this up by saying: "... we have reasonable doubt, and this is a safeguard which has enormous value in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it's sure." Hence, uncertainty about the reliability of evidence gives jurors sufficient reasonable doubt to decide a verdict of not guilty.

Rose spends a significant portion of the play investigating the notion of reasonable doubt. Throughout the play it is evident that 'twelve angry men' is less about guilt and innocence and more about reasonable doubt. The jurors are not obligated to search for the truth; none of the jurors can be entirely convinced of the truth, but can have reasonable doubt; and evidence provided by the prosecution appears as invalid and unreliable creating room

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