According to Haile Selassie, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” Justice can be sustained by the effort of citizens who are willing to sacrifice their time in order to rightfully secure the convicted’s place. Reginald Rose’s play, Twelve Angry Men, demonstrates the perfect example of an individual who puts effort and time into a trial to seek the truth.
Juror Eight fights for justice through his empathy, stubbornness, and logic, successfully righting all wrongs during the trial. Although the evidence made it convincingly clear that the boy was guilty, Juror Eight displays his concern and compassion for the boy using hesitation and doubt. To demonstrate, when asked why he votes not guilty, Juror Eight replies, “There were eleven votes for guilty — it’s not so easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first.
” (1, pg. 15). Instead of being pressured from standing alone, he sees this as his responsibility to make sure the boy is receiving what he really deserves and wants to discover the truth before he makes the final decision. He understands and empathizes the boy’s situation of how the wrong decision could unjustly end his life, so he decides to prove this accusation accurately with reasonable doubt.
The concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is dismissed by Juror Two, so Juror Eight reacts, “No reasons — just guilty.
There is a life at stake here.” (1, pg. 18). Because he is aware of the harsh consequences the boy would face, Juror Eight takes this matter very seriously and expects to undergo a thorough investigation in order to validate the outcome. He realizes that this boy could lose his whole future because of the carelessness of the jurors, so he chooses effort and justice over comfort. Juror Eight illustrates compassion towards the convicted and attempts to see all sides of every claim in order to obtain the truth. Given the unlikely chances that the boy is innocent, Juror Eight still tenaciously continues to fight for pure justice despite what anyone else says. As Juror Eight introduces the possibilities of the boy’s innocence, Juror Seven interrupts, “Listen — there are still eleven of us who think he’s guilty. You’re alone. What do you think you’re going to accomplish?” but Juror Elght does not give in to their attacks (1, pg. 25). As an individual, Juror Eight persistently maintains his opinion of possible innocence and strives to continue discussing this matter.
Even the pressure from the other jurors won’t stop him from preserving his beliefs and rights. Even as Juror Three asks, “What do you say? You’re the one holding up the show,” Juror Eight firmly responds, “I have a doubt in my mind.” (1, pg. 25). With all the blame on him, Juror Eight shows Juror Three that he will not change his mind regardless of the majority of votes against him. The doubt in his mind does not just disappear because of the other people’s complaints, and Juror Eight makes sure the other jurors are aware of that. While other people would have caved into the other jurors, Juror Eight remains strong and fights to see justice being served. To handle this case as a juror, Juror Eight brings logic into the situation rather than unreliable witnesses and evidence to reveal the ultimate truth. For instance, after analyzing the testimonies given by the witnesses, Juror Eight concludes that in order for the boy to be guilty, he must be “stupid, then smart, then stupid and then smart and so on” while the old man downstairs must be “a liar half of the time and the other half of the time he must tell the truth,” so therefore, “You can reasonably doubt.” (III, pg. 58).
Juror Eight attempts to look at this case in every angle possible, even re enacting certain parts of the scene. The results led to only one liable answer: the boy was innocent. Furthermore, once the jurors realized that the woman wore thick glasses, Juror Eight claims, “I think it’s logical to say that she was not wearing her glasses in bed, and I don’t think she’d put them on to glance casually out of the window.” Convincing the jurors from eleven votes guilty to “eleven votes, not guilty; one, guilty.” (III, pg. 61-62). Using only his logic, he was able to switch the majority of the votes to innocent. What seemed like a straightforward case seemed to be the opposite when logic came into play. Juror Eight was able to save the boy’s life and future through the power of logic and reasoning; all it took was some time. Attempting to reveal the truth and gain justice, Juror Eight uses his empathy, stubbornness, and logic as a weapon of righteousness. Because of these characteristic traits, Juror Eight was able to save an innocent boy from facing the unfair and harsh punishment he did not deserve. Emphasizing the possibility of his innocence allows the jurors to think outside the box and find any doubts that might make the boy innocent. Real justice was carried out ultimately through the time and compassion of another man.