What Is a Summary of "12 Angry Men"?


Quick Answer

The play "12 Angry Men" by Reginald Rose describes a jury scene of 12 men who have to decide whether or not a defendant in a murder case is guilty and should be sentenced to death. The defendant is a 19-year-old Hispanic boy who is accused of murdering his father.

Continue Reading
What Is a Summary of "12 Angry Men"?
Credit: Silver Screen Collection Moviepix Getty Images

Full Answer

When the play opens, 11 of the 12 men believe the defendant is guilty. There are both ear and eye witnesses to the crime, and the defendant has a weak alibi. The defendant claims he went to the movies on the night of the murder, but he can't recall the names of the films. He had also purchased a rare type of switchblade.

Juror eight is the only one who has reasonable doubt when it comes to the boy's guilt. He casts doubt upon the witnesses and claims that the boy might indeed have simply forgotten the names of the movies he watched that night due to stress. He also claims that the switchblade isn't rare.

As the play progresses, the biases of some of the other jurors come to light. One juror evinces prejudice against people from the slums, and two jurors nearly come to blows, but eventually, not guilty is the unanimous vote.

Learn more about Art & Literature

Related Questions