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How does Reginald Rose establish and maintain a sense of tension in Twelve Angry Men?

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Introduction

How does Reginald Rose establish and maintain a sense of tension in Twelve Angry Men? When analysing Rose's techniques in "Twelve Angry Men", one has to recognise the time period that this is play set in. It is 1950s New York, a time when many people from different cultural backgrounds are flooding into the country and settling in places such as New York. A lot of these migrants settle in slums and then racial tension starts to set in amongst different communities within a country. Therefore, one could say that these sorts of social issues will be apparent in possibly some of the jurors and indeed this becomes true as the play unfolds. However, when we first see the jurors in the jury room they are mostly very reserved and polite towards each other. What first pops up however is the enclosed room. With harsh lighting and shabby d�cor, a very old and haggard image is created. There is also a window with a view of New York in Croydon and a clock ticking away (this will be very important later on as it will represent the time ticking away). ...read more.

Middle

and who blend into the background (jurors 1, 2 and 12). As the play progresses, we see the jurors' true colours starting to appear, with the three biggest voices (10, 3, and 7) becoming even more brash and irate to the extent that the other jurors are becoming irritated by their constant sarcasm and general ignorance. But on page 47, we start to see what seems set to become a key moment in the play. After testing the theory of how a witness couldn't have seen the defendant, the 3rd juror becomes irate and starts ranting spuriously, causing the 8th juror to goad him: 8th juror: "Ever since we walked into this room you've been behaving like a self-appointed public avenger." The 8th juror then calls him a sadist causing the 3rd juror to lunge wildly at him, leading to him having to be restrained by the 5th and 6th jurors. The 3rd juror then shouts loudly: "I'll kill him! I'll kill him!" The 8th juror states that he doesn't mean that which is indeed true. This is indeed one of the most important moments of the play because not only does it prove the 3rd juror wrong about his previous theories but it shows exactly what the 3rd juror, or for that matter, anyone, can be like. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is only the 3rd juror who remains defiant. When asked to give his arguments, he starts to clutch at straws in desperation, going over arguments that have already been discredited. It is clear at the end of the play that juror 3 is bitter because of his estranged son. Hen the 8th and 4th jurors highlight the fact that the boy is not his son and should be allowed to live, the 3rd juror finally votes not guilty. Indeed, Rose has used a very effective method in maintaining the tension in Twelve Angry Men. Instead of making the tension non-existent or thrusting a full-scale war under the audience's noses, he has gone for a method which makes the tension gradually build, always making sure that when tension finally explodes; there is a huge extrusion of emotions. Even after this, he manages to make the tension drop and then build up again. Indeed, with the way the play ends, it makes it seem like the play was going to build up to the conclusion of what we men can be like and how we deal with the things in our own, sometimes selfish way. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sean Okundaye English Coursework Mr Cook 1 out of 4 ...read more.

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