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[2 of 2] "Twelve Angry Men, Act II," by Reginald Rose, (1955, 1997)

Author: Reginald Rose

Rose, Reginald. “Act iI.” Twelve Angry Men, Penguin Books, New York, 1955, pp. 57–81.

ACT II

The same. Immediately following.

When the CURTAIN rises, the JURORS are in the same positions as they were at the end of the previous act, looking at the 3RD JUROR. There is silence. The 3RD JUROR crosses to the window. The other JURORS move about the room. There is an awkward silence.

The GUARD unlocks the door and enters.

GUARD: Is there anything wrong, gentlemen? I heard some noise.

FOREMAN: No. There’s nothing wrong.

The FOREMAN collects the apartment plan from the table.

Just a little argument. Everything’s OK.

The FOREMAN hands the plan to the GUARD.

We’re finished with this.

The GUARD takes the plan, looks carefully around the room, then exits, locking the door behind him.
There is a pause. The others look at the 3RD JUROR.

3RD JUROR: Well, what are you staring at?

The others, embarrassed, turn away. Some of them take their seats.

12TH JUROR: Well—I suppose someone has to—start it off again.

2ND JUROR: It’s getting late. [To the FOREMAN.] What do they do, take us out to a restaurant for supper?

FOREMAN: How do I know?

2ND JUROR: I wonder if they let us go home in case we can’t finish tonight. I’ve got a boy with mumps. He’s out to here. The wife says he looks like Khrushchev.

The room begins to darken perceptibly now.

11TH JUROR: Pardon. This fighting. This is not why we are here, to fight. We have a responsibility. This, I have always thought, is a remarkable thing about democracy. That we are, uh, what is the word? Notified. That we are notified by mail to comedown to this place and decide on the guilt or innocence of a man we have never heard of before. We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict. This is one of the reasons we are strong. We should not make it a personal thing.

12TH JUROR: Um, if no one else has an idea, I may have a cutie here. I mean, I haven’t put much thought into it. Anyway, lemme throw it out on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up.

FOREMAN: See if the cat licks it up? [He laughs.]

12TH JUROR: Well, it wasn’t much of an idea, anyway.

5TH JUROR: Look how dark it’s getting. We’re gonna have a storm. Boy, it’s hot.

The 4TH JUROR, in tie and jacket, is seemingly not bothered by the heat at all. The 5TH JUROR turns to him.

Pardon me, don’t you sweat?

4TH JUROR: No. I don’t.

6TH JUROR: Uh, listen, I was wondering if maybe we shouldn’t take another vote.

7TH JUROR: Great idea. Maybe we can follow this one up with dancing and refreshments.

6TH JUROR: Mr. Foreman?

FOREMAN: It’s all right with me. Anyone doesn’t want to vote? No one answers for a moment.

3RD JUROR: I think we ought to have an open ballot. Call out your votes, y’know. Let’s see who stands where.

FOREMAN: That sounds fair. Anyone object? The last vote was eight to four in favor of guilty. All right. I’ll call off your jury numbers. I vote “guilty.” Number Two?

2ND JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Three?

3RD JUROR: “Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Four?

4TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Five?

5TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Six?

6TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Seven?

7TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Eight?

8TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Nine?

9TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Ten?

10TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Eleven?

11TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Number Twelve?

12TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

FOREMAN: Six to six.

7TH JUROR: And we go into extra innings here.

10TH JUROR: Six to six! I’m telling you, some of you people in here are out of your minds. A kid like that.

9TH JUROR: I don’t think the kind of boy he is has anything to do with it. The facts are supposed to determine the case.

10TH JUROR: Ah, don’t give me any of that. I’m sick and tired of facts. You can twist ’em any way you like. Know what I mean?

9TH JUROR: That’s exactly the point this gentleman [He indicates the 8TH JUROR.] has been making. I mean, you keep shouting at the top of your lungs . . .

The 8TH JUROR puts his hand on the 9TH JUROR’s shoulder. The 9TH JUROR looks at him and sits.

I’d like to be a little younger. [He stops. Unable to go on.] It’s very hot in here.

11TH JUROR: Do you want some water?

9TH JUROR: No, thanks.

It has grown considerably darker in the room and it’s oppressively still. There is a murmur of voices at the cooler where the 7TH, 10TH, and 2ND JURORS are in various stages of getting a drink.

2ND JUROR: It’s going to rain.

7TH JUROR: No! How did you figure that out, blue eyes? Tell me, how come you switched?

2ND JUROR: Well, it just seemed to me—

7TH JUROR: I mean, you haven’t got a leg to stand on. You know that, don’tcha?

2ND JUROR: Well, I don’t feel that way. There’re a lot of details that never came out.

10TH JUROR: Details! You’re just letting yourself get bulldozed by a bunch’a what d’ya call ’em—intellectuals.

2ND JUROR: Now, that’s not so.

10TH JUROR: Ah, come on. You’re like everybody else. You think too much, you get mixed up. Know what I mean?

2ND JUROR: Now, listen, I don’t think you have any right to . . . The 10TH JUROR crosses away. [Softly.] Loudmouth!

It is now darker than before. There is no movement in the room. Everyone waits for the storm. And suddenly it comes. We hear only the sound of the rain pouring down into the silence. Heads turn toward the window. The rain pours down. The 4TH JUROR goes into the washroom and exits to the lavatory.

The 8TH JUROR steps back from the window as the rain splashes in, closes it. The FOREMAN rises, goes to the light switch at the door and switches on the lights. There is a flickering of harsh white light as the fluorescent lights come on. The raincontinues throughout the remainder of the play.

The FOREMAN moves to the 8TH JUROR.

FOREMAN: Wow! Look at that come down, will ya? Think it’ll cool things off?

8TH JUROR: Yeah, I guess so.

FOREMAN: Boy! Look at it go! Reminds me of the storm we had—November something. What a storm! Right in the middle of the game.

The 3D JUROR crosses to the washroom, goes in, switches on the light and washes his hands.

We’re behind seven-six, but we’re just startin’ to move the ball, off tackle, y’know. Boom! Boom! Boy, I’ll never forget that. We had this kid, Slattery. A real ox. Wish I had another one like him. Oh, I probably forgot to tell you—I’m assistant head football coach at the Andrew J. McCorkle High School. That’s in Queens.

The 8TH JUROR smiles briefly.

So anyway, we’re movin’ real nice. Their line is comin’ apart. I’m tellin’ ya, this Slattery. Boy! And all of a sudden it starts to come down cats and dogs. In two minutes it was mud practically up to your ass. I swear I almost bawled. We couldn’t go nowhere.

7TH JUROR: Hey, let’s try to get this fan goin’ in here. What d’ya say?

The 4TH JUROR enters the washroom from the lavatory.

The FOREMAN goes to the bench, stands on it and starts the fan.

it musta been connected to the light switch.

The 3RD and 4TH JURORS are in the washroom together.

3RD JUROR [to the 4TH JUROR]: Some rain, huh?

The 4TH JUROR nods.

Well, what d’ya think of this thing? It’s even-steven.

The 4TH JUROR nods.

Kind of surprising, isn’t it?

4TH JUROR: Yes.

3RD JUROR: Listen, that business before, you know, where that guy was baiting me. I mean, that doesn’t prove anything. Listen, I’m a very excitable person, y’know. So where does he get off to call me a public avenger and a sadist and everything? Anybody in his right mind’d blow his stack, wouldn’t he? He was just trying to bait me.

4TH JUROR: He did an excellent job. [He moves to the towel.] Excuse me. [He dries his hands.]

3RD JUROR: OK, maybe he did. I told you, I can’t help that kind of thing. I’m a certain type of person, I get moved by this. But let me tell you, I’m sincere.

4TH JUROR: Fine. We all are.

The 10TH JUROR bursts into the washroom, strides to the basin and washes his hands.

10TH JUROR: Well—isn’t this the goddamnedest thing you ever saw? Six to six. It’s a joke.

3RD JUROR: What are we gonna do about it? Can’t we break it somehow?

10TH JUROR: Those six bastards in there aren’t going to change their minds.

4TH JUROR: Five of them already have changed their minds. There’s no reason why they can’t be persuaded to do it again.

10TH JUROR: How?

4TH JUROR: Just by using logic.

10TH JUROR: Logic! Holy cow!

3RD JUROR: Now, just you listen to this man. He’s the only one in the room who knows . . .

10TH JUROR: You want my opinion?

4TH JUROR: Go ahead.

10TH JUROR: I think we should just quit.

3RD JUROR: What the hell are you talking about?

10TH JUROR: Those people in there are suddenly like it’s some kind of mission or something. Look, they’re not gonna switch, so let’s go and tell the Judge—we’ll be here all night. For Chrissakes, let’s tell him we’re hung. The hell with this. I mean, what am I gonna do, break my brains over scum like that?

3RD JUROR: Well, that’s the most ridiculous thing I ever . . . You took an oath in the courtroom. You can’t just quit.

10TH JUROR: Why not?

3RD JUROR: It’s dishonest. Why don’t you vote “not guilty”?

10TH JUROR: I voted guilty because I think he’s guilty.

3RD JUROR: But now you don’t care what happens?

10TH JUROR: No. Why should I?

4TH JUROR: All right, let’s stop this. We’re not going to get anywhere like this.

10TH JUROR: Well, what does he want? I gave my honest opinion.

4TH JUROR: I know.

10TH JUROR: I suppose you don’t think much of it?

4TH JUROR: No, I don’t. The FOREMAN opens the washroom door.

FOREMAN: Uh—we’d like to get going in here again, if you don’t mind.

The 4TH JUROR leaves the washroom.

10TH JUROR [to the 3RD JUROR]: How about him? Is that something?

3RD JUROR: A hung jury doesn’t mean anything. They just have to start the trial with another jury. That’s not what we’re here for.

10TH JUROR: What the hell’s the difference? A hung jury is what you’re gonna get.

FOREMAN: Look, would you please . . .

The 10TH JUROR strides out of the washroom, the 3RD JUROR switches out thelight and comes slowly into the room.

10TH JUROR: Listen, I’ll tell you what I think. We’re goin’ nowhere here. I’m ready to walk into court right now and declare a hung jury.

7TH JUROR: I go for that, too. Let’s take it into the Judge and let the kid take hischances with twelve other guys.

8TH JUROR: I don’t think the court will accept a hung jury. We haven’t been in here
very long.

7TH JUROR: Well, let’s find out.

11TH JUROR: I’m not in favor of this.

7TH JUROR [to the 11TH JUROR]: Listen, this kid wouldn’t stand a chance with another jury and you know it. [To the others.] Come on, we’re hung. Nobody’s gonnachange his opinion. Let’s take it inside.

5TH JUROR: You still don’t think there’s any room for reasonable doubt?

7TH JUROR: No, I don’t.

11TH JUROR: Pardon. Maybe you don’t fully understand the term “reasonable doubt.”

7TH JUROR: What d’ya mean, I don’t understand it? Who the hell are you to talk to me like that? [To the others.] How d’ya like this guy? I’m tellin’ ya they’re all alike. He comes over to this country running for his life and before he can even take a big breath he’s telling us how to run the show. The arrogance of the guy!

5TH JUROR [to the 7TH JUROR]: You mean you’re calling him arrogant because he wasn’t born here Well, I’m calling you arrogant because you were. How’s that?

11TH JUROR: Please, please. It doesn’t matter.

7TH JUROR: Look, sonny, nobody around here’s gonna tell me what words I understand and what words I don’t. [He points to the 11TH JUROR.] Especially him. Because I’ll knock his goddamn Middle European head off.

FOREMAN: All right. Let’s stop arguing for two minutes in here. Can’t we stick to the subject?

8TH JUROR: I’d like to go over something, if you gentlemen don’t mind. An important point for the prosecution was the fact that the boy, after he claimed he was at the movies during the hours the killing took place, couldn’t name the pictures he saw or the stars who appeared in them. [He points to the 4TH JUROR.] This gentleman has repeated that point in here several times.

4TH JUROR: That’s correct. It was the only alibi the boy offered and he himself couldn’t back it up with any details at all.

8TH JUROR: Putting yourself in the boy’s place, if you can, do you think you’d be able to remember details after an upsetting experience such as being struck in the face by your father?

4TH JUROR: I think so, if there were any special details to remember. He couldn’t remember the movies at the theater he named because he wasn’t there that night.

8TH JUROR: According to the police testimony in court he was questioned by the police in the kitchen of his apartment while the body of his father was lying on the floor in the bedroom. Do you think you could remember details under such circumstances?

4TH JUROR: I do.

8TH JUROR: Under great emotional stress?

4TH JUROR: Under great emotional stress.

8TH JUROR: He remembered the movies in court. He named them correctly and he named the stars who played in them.

4TH JUROR: Yes, his lawyer took great pains to bring that out. He had three months from the night of the murder to the day of the trial in which to memorize them. I’ll take the testimony of the policeman who interrogated him right after the murder, when he couldn’t remember a thing about the movies, great emotional stress or not.

8TH JUROR: I’d like to ask you a personal question.

4TH JUROR: Go ahead.

8TH JUROR: Where were you last night?

4TH JUROR: I was home.

8TH JUROR: What about the night before last?

10TH JUROR: Come on, what is this?

4TH JUROR [to the 10TH JUROR]: It’s perfectly all right. [To the 8TH JUROR.] I went
from court to my office and stayed there till eight thirty. Then I went straight home to
bed.

8TH JUROR: And the night before that?

4TH JUROR: That was—Tuesday. I—was—oh, yes. That was the night of the bridge tournament. I played bridge.

8TH JUROR: And Monday night.

7TH JUROR: When you get him down to New Year’s Eve, nineteen fifty lemme know.

4TH JUROR [trying to remember]: Monday. [He pauses.] Monday night. [He remembers.] Monday night my wife and Iwent to the movies.

8TH JUROR: What did you see?

4TH JUROR: The Scarlet Circle. It’s a very clever whodunit.

8TH JUROR: What was the second feature?

4TH JUROR [straining] : The . . . I’ll tell you in a minute. The—Remarkable Mrs. Something. Mrs.—uh—Mainbridge. No, Bainbridge. The Remarkable Mrs. Bainbridge.

2ND JUROR: Excuse me. I saw that. It’s called The Amazing Mrs. Bainbridge.

4TH JUROR: The—Amazing Mrs. Bainbridge. Yes. I think that’s right.

8TH JUROR: Who was in The Amazing Mrs. Bainbridge?

4TH JUROR: Barbara—Long, I think. She’s a dark, very pretty girl. Barbara—Lang—Lane—something like that.

8TH JUROR: Who else?

The 4TH JUROR takes a handkerchief and mops his suddenly sweating forehead.

4TH JUROR: Well, I’d never heard of them before. It was a very inexpensive second feature, with unknown . . .

8TH JUROR: And you weren’t under an emotional strain, were you?

4TH JUROR: No, I wasn’t.

9TH JUROR: I think the point is made.

10TH JUROR: Big point!

9TH JUROR: I think it is a big point.

10TH JUROR: What? Just because he can’t remember the name of some two-bit movie star? I suppose that proves the kid was at the movies.

9TH JUROR: No. But it indicates that no one can prove he wasn’t. He might have been at the movies and forgotten what he saw. It’s possible. If it’s perfectly normal for this gentleman [he indicates the 4TH JUROR]—to forget a few details, then it’s also perfectly normal for the boy. Being accused of murder isn’t necessarily supposed to give him an infallible memory.

10TH JUROR [to the 9TH JUROR]: You can talk till your tongue is draggin’ on the floor. The boy is guilty. Period. Know what I mean, my friend? Who’s got those cough drops?

2ND JUROR: They’re all gone, my friend.

FOREMAN: Y’know, there’s something we’re forgetting here that I was just thinking about. That whole business with the psychiatrist that dragged on forever.

10TH JUROR: Now don’t start with all that phoney psycho-whatever-you-call-it-stuff. What a racket that is! Filling people’s heads with all that junk. Listen, I’ve got three psychiatrists keeping their cars in one of my garages. The whole three of ’em are crazy.

FOREMAN: Listen, there’s a point I’m tryin’ to make here. Do you mind?

10TH JUROR: I wouldn’t give you a nickel for a psychiatrist’s testimony.

8TH JUROR: Why don’t you let the man talk? You can take five minutes on the uselessness of psychiatry when he’s finished.

FOREMAN: What I was gonna say was, the psychiatrist definitely stated that the boy had strong homicidal tendencies. I mean, that he was, what d’ya call it—capable of committing murder. He described all those tests, inkblots and all that stuff, and he said the kid is definitely a killer type. Am I right?

12TH JUROR: Check. I think he said something about paranoid tendencies if I’m not mistaken.

FOREMAN: Right. Whatever that is, he said it. Let’s not forget, we’re talking about aboy who always had murder on his mind.

12TH JUROR: His unconscious mind.

FOREMAN: Nobody else’s.

11TH JUROR: I beg pardon, in discussing—

10TH JUROR: I beg pardon. What are you so goddamn polite about?

11TH JUROR: For the same reason you’re not. It’s the way I was brought up. [He turns to the others.] In discussing such a thing as the murder potential we should remember that many of us are capable of committing murder. But few of us do. We impose controls upon ourselves to prevent it. The most these psychiatric tests can accomplish along these lines is this: they can tell us that someday a particular person may commit a murder. That’s all. They prove nothing.

4TH JUROR: Then how come they’re admitted in evidence?

11TH JUROR: They have many uses, of course. In this case they added to the general impression the prosecution was trying to create. Perhaps we would find that if we twelve men took the same tests, one or two of us might be discovered to have unconscious desires to kill, and the potentiality of carrying them out. Yet none of us has. To say that a man is capable of murder does not mean that he has committed murder.

10TH JUROR: But it can mean it. Listen, if they said the kid is capable of killing, he could’ve killed, couldn’t he?

8TH JUROR: You’re the one who said, and I quote, “I wouldn’t give you a nickel for a psychiatrist’s testimony.”

10TH JUROR: Boy, I’m telling you . . . [He crosses to the 8TH JUROR.] I’d like to . . . [He stops.]

The 8TH JUROR does not look up at him. The 10TH JUROR crosses angrily away.

6TH JUROR: What time is it?

7TH JUROR: It’s five of six. Man, look at that rain.

12TH JUROR: There goes your ball game.

2ND JUROR [to the 8TH JUROR]: Say, could I see that knife for a second?

The 8TH JUROR slides the knife across the table to the 2ND JUROR, who opens and examines it.

FOREMAN: Well, we’re still tied up six to six. Who’s got a suggestion?

12TH JUROR: I have. Let’s get some dinner.

5TH JUROR: Why don’t we wait till seven? Give it another hour.

12TH JUROR: OK with me.

2ND JUROR: Um—there’s something I’d like to say. I mean, it’s been bothering me a little and as long as we’re stuck. . . . Well, there was this whole business about the stab wound and how it was made, the downward angle of it, you know?

3RD JUROR: Don’t tell me we’re gonna start with that. They went over it and over it.

2ND JUROR: I know they did, but I don’t go along with it. The boy is five feet, seven inches tall. His father was six two. That’s a difference of seven inches. It’s a very awkward thing to stab down into the chest of someone who’s more than a half a foot taller than you are.

3RD JUROR [crossing to the 2ND JUROR and indicating the knife]: Give me that.

The 2ND JUROR hands the knife to the 3RD JUROR.

Look, you’re not gonna be satisfied till you see it again. I’m gonna give you a demonstration. Somebody get up.

There is a pause. No one moves for a moment, and then the 8TH JUROR rises and crosses to the 3RD JUROR. They stand looking at each other.

OK. [To the 2ND JUROR.] Now, watch this. I don’t want to have to do it again. [He turns to the 8TH JUROR, looks squarely at him, and squats to make himself shorter.] I’m six or seven inches shorter than you. Right?

2ND JUROR: That’s right. Maybe a little more.

3RD JUROR: OK. Let it be more.

The 3RD JUROR flicks open the knife, changes its position in his hand and holds it
aloft, ready to stab downwards.

The 8TH JUROR and the 3RD JUROR look steadily at each other, then the 3RDJUROR suddenly stabs downward, hard.

2ND JUROR: Look out!

The blade stops about an inch from the 8TH JUROR’s chest. The 8TH JUROR does not move. The 3RD JUROR smiles.

6TH JUROR: That’s not funny.

5TH JUROR: What’s the matter with you?

3RD JUROR: Now just calm down. Nobody’s hurt. Right?

8TH JUROR: No. Nobody’s hurt.

3RD JUROR: All right. There’s your angle. Take a look at it. Down and in. That’s how I’d stab a taller man in the chest and that’s how it was done. Now go ahead and tell me I’m wrong.

The 3RD JUROR hands the knife to the 8TH JUROR and crosses away. The 12TH JUROR crosses to the 8TH JUROR and using his closed hand, simulates stabbing the 8TH JUROR in the chest.

12TH JUROR: Down and in. I guess there’s no argument.

5TH JUROR [moving to the 8TH JUROR]: Wait a minute. Give me that.

The 8TH JUROR hands the knife to the 5TH JUROR. He closes the knife and holdsit gingerly.
I hate these things. I grew up with them.

8TH JUROR: Have you seen them used in fights?

5TH JUROR: Too many of them. On my stoop. In my backyard. In the lot across the street. Switch knives came with the neighborhood where I lived. Funny, I wasn’t thinking of it. I guess you try to forget those things. You don’t use this kind of knife that way. You have to hold it like this to release the blade. In order to stab downward, you would have to change your grip.

8TH JUROR: How do you use it?

5TH JUROR: Underhanded.

The 5TH JUROR flicks the knife open and, holding it underhanded, swings roundand slashes swiftly forward and upward.

Like that. Anyone who’s ever used a switch knife’d never handle it any other way.

8TH JUROR: Are you sure?

5TH JUROR: I’m sure.

The 5TH JUROR closes the blade and flicks it open again. That’s why they’re made like this.

8TH JUROR: Everyone agreed that the boy is pretty handy with a knife, didn’t they?

5TH JUROR: That’s right.

8TH JUROR [to the 5TH JUROR]: Do you think he would have made the kind of wound that killed his father?

5TH JUROR: Not with the experience he’d had with these things. No, I don’t think he would. He’d go for him underhanded . . .

3RD JUROR: How do you know? What—were you in the room when the father was killed?

5TH JUROR: No, and neither was anyone else.

The 5TH JUROR sticks the knife in the table and crosses away.

3RD JUROR [to the 8TH JUROR]: You’re giving us a lot of mumbo-jumbo here. I don’t believe it.

4TH JUROR: I don’t think you can determine what type of wound this boy might or might not have made simply because he knows how to handle a knife.

3RD JUROR: That’s right. That’s absolutely right.

8TH JUROR [looking at the 12TH JUROR]: What do you think? The 12TH JUROR hesitates for a moment. He is confused, but trying to be honest.

12TH JUROR: Well—I don’t know . . .

3RD JUROR: What d’ya mean—you don’t know?

12TH JUROR: I don’t know.

8TH JUROR [to the 7TH JUROR]: What about you?

The 7TH JUROR looks around the table momentarily.

4TH JUROR: Just a minute. According to the woman across the street . . .

7TH JUROR: Listen, I’ll tell you something. I’m a little sick of this whole thing already. All this yakkin’s gettin’ us nowhere so I’m going to break it up here. I’m changing my vote to “not guilty.”

3RD JUROR: You’re what?

7TH JUROR: You heard me. I’ve had enough.

3RD JUROR: What d’you mean—you’ve had enough? That’s no answer.

7TH JUROR: Hey, listen you! Just worry about yourself!

11TH JUROR [crossing to the 7TH JUROR]: He’s right. That is not an answer. What kind of man are you? You have sat here and voted guilty with everyone else because there are some baseball tickets burning a hole in your pocket. Now you have changed your vote because you say you’re sick of all the talking here.

7TH JUROR: Listen. buddy—

11TH JUROR: You have no right to play like this with a man’s life. This is a terrible and ugly thing to do. Don’t you care . . . ?

7TH JUROR: Now, wait a minute. You can’t talk like that to me!

11TH JUROR: I can talk like that to you. If you want to vote not guilty, then do it because you’re convinced the man is not guilty—not because you’ve had enough. And if you think he’s guilty, then vote that way, or don’t you have the guts to do what you think is right?

7TH JUROR: Now, listen. . .

11TH JUROR: Guilty or not guilty?

7TH JUROR: I told you—not guilty.

11TH JUROR: Why?

7TH JUROR: Goddamn you. I don’t have to—

11TH JUROR: You do have to. Say it. Why?

7TH JUROR [in a low voice]: I—don’t think he’s guilty.’

The 11TH JUROR looks disgustedly at the 7TH JUROR, then moves to his chair. The 7TH JUROR stands defeated.

8TH JUROR: Mr. Foreman, I want another vote.

FOREMAN: OK, there’s another vote called for.

The JURORS cross to their chairs and sit.

I guess the quickest way is a show of hands. Anybody object? There is no answer. All those voting “not guilty” raise your hands.

The 2ND, 5TH, 6TH, 7TH, 8TH, 9TH, and 11TH JURORS raise their hands immediately.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.

The 12TH JUROR’s face is a mask of indecision, then he suddenly raises his hand.

Eight.

The FOREMAN stops counting and looks around the table. Slowly, almost embarrassed, he raises his own hand.

Nine. [He lowers his hand.] All those voting “guilty.”

The 3RD, 4TH, and 10TH JURORS raise their hands.

Nine to three in favor of “not guilty.”

10TH JUROR: I don’t understand you people. I mean, all these picky little points you keep bringing up. They don’t mean nothing. How can you believe his story? [To the11TH JUROR.] You’re an intelligent man. Well, you’re not gonna tell me you’re not. You know the facts of life. Well, for Chrissakes look at what we’re dealing with here. You know what they’re like! I mean, that guy [he points to the 8TH JUROR]—over
there, well, I don’t know what the hell is going on with him. All that talk about psychiatrists. Maybe he oughta go to one. Look, let’s talk facts. These people are born to lie. Now, it’s the way they are and no intelligent man is gonna tell me otherwise. They don’t know what the truth is. Well, take a look at them. They are different. They think different. They act different. Well, for instance, they don’t need any big excuse to kill someone.

The 5TH JUROR crosses to the washroom door.

Well, that’s true. Everybody knows it. They get drunk on wine or something cheap like that. Oh, they’re very big drinkers.

The 5TH JUROR goes into the washroom, slams the door behind him.

Smart guy! Look at him for Chrissakes! What does that mean, slamming the door?And then they’re drunk, and all of a sudden—bang—somebody’s lying dead in thegutter. OK, nobody’s blaming them for it. That’s how they are, by nature, y’know what I mean? Violent! Human life don’t mean as much to them as it does to us.

The 11TH JUROR rises and crosses to the washroom door. He follows the 5TH JUROR.

Where are you going?

The 11TH JUROR does not reply and goes into the washroom.

While you’re in there, clean out your ears, maybe you’ll hear something.

The 4TH JUROR rises and moves to the window.

Look, you listen to me now. These people are boozing it up, and fighting all the time, and if somebody gets killed, so somebody gets killed. They don’t care. Family don’t mean anything to them. They breed like animals. Fathers, mothers, that don’t mean anything. Oh sure, there are some good things about ’em. Look, I’m the first one to say that. I’ve known some who were OK, but that’s the exception.

9TH JUROR: Do you know you’re a sick man?

10TH JUROR: Sick?

9TH JUROR: Why don’t you sit down?

10TH JUROR: You old son of a bitch! Who the hell are you?

The 6TH JUROR moves toward the 9TH JUROR.

The 12TH JUROR steps between the 9TH and 10TH JURORS. [To the 12TH JUROR.] No. Who the hell is he to tell me that? Sick. Look at him—he can hardlystand up. Listen, I’m speaking my piece here and you’re gonna listen.

The 9TH JUROR moves to the window.

12TH JUROR: Maybe if you just quieted down.

10TH JUROR: I will like hell quiet down. There is not one of them, not one who’s any good. Now, d’you hear that? Not one. Now let me lay this out for you—ignorant—bastards. [To the 9TH JUROR.] You at the window, you’re so goddamned smart. We’re facing a danger here. Don’t you know it? These people are multiplying. That kid on trial, his type, they’re multiplying five times as fast as we are. That’s the statistic. Five times. And they are—wild animals. They’re against us, they hate us, they want to destroy us. That’s right. [To the 6TH JUROR.] Don’t look at me like that! There’s a danger. For God’s sake, we’re living in a dangerous time, and if we don’t watch it, if we don’t smack them down whenever we can, then they are gonna own us. They’re gonna breed us out of existence.

6TH JUROR: Ah, shut up!

10TH JUROR: Now you goddamned geniuses had better listen to me. They’re violent, they’re vicious, they’re ignorant, and they will cut us up. That’s their intent. To cut us up. [To the 7TH JUROR.] I’m warning you. This boy, this boy on trial here. We’ve got him. That’s one at least. I say get him before his kind gets us. I don’t give a goddamn about the law. Why should I? They don’t. Now I’m telling you.

2ND JUROR: I’ve heard enough. Now you just stop all this.

10TH JUROR [looking angrily at the 2ND JUROR]: How would you like me to caveyour head in for you, you smart little bastard? Where the hell do you get the gall . . . ?

The 4TH JUROR steps in front of the 10TH JUROR and stops him firmly.

4TH JUROR: We’ve heard enough. Sit down. And don’t open your filthy mouth again.

The 4TH and 10TH JURORS stare at each other. Finally, the 10TH JUROR turns away, crosses to a chair and sits with his back to the others. The other JURORS [including the 5TH and 11TH JURORS] slowly cross to their seats.

8TH JUROR: It’s very hard to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And no matter where you run into it, prejudice obscures the truth. Well, I don’t think any real damage has been done here. Because I don’t really know what the truth is. No one ever will, I suppose. Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent, but we’re just gambling on probabilities. We may be wrong. We may be trying to return a guilty man to the community. No one can really know. But we have a reasonable doubt, and this is a safeguard that has enormous value in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it’s sure. We nine can’t understand how you three are still so sure. Maybe you can tell us.

4TH JUROR: I’ll try. You’ve made some excellent points. The last one, in which you argued that the boy wouldn’t have made the kind of overhand stab wound that killed his father, was very persuasive. But I still believe the boy is guilty of murder. I have two reasons. One: the evidence given by the woman across the street who actually saw the murder committed.

3RD JUROR: And how, brother! As far as I’m concerned that’s the most important testimony in the whole case.

4TH JUROR: And two: the fact that this woman described the stabbing by saying she saw the boy raise his arm over his head and plunge the knife down into his father’s chest. She saw him do it—the wrong way.

3RD JUROR: That’s right! That’s absolutely right!

3TH JUROR: Now, let’s talk about this woman for a minute. She said that she went to bed at about eleven o’clock that night. Her bed was next to the window—and she could look out while lying down and see directly into the boy’s window across thetracks. She tossed and turned for over an hour, unable to fall asleep. Finally, she turned toward the window at about ten minutes after twelve, and, as she looked out,
she saw the killing through the windows of the passing el train. She says that thelights went out mmediately after the killing but that she got a good look at the boy inthe act of stabbing his father. As far as I can see, this is unshakeable testimony.

3RD JUROR: That’s what I mean. That’s the whole case.

4TH JUROR [to the 8TH JUROR]: What do you think?

The 8TH JUROR remains silent.

[Looking at the 12TH JUROR.] How about you?

12TH JUROR: Well—I don’t know. There’s so much evidence to sift. This is a pretty complicated business.

4TH JUROR: Frankly, I don’t see how we can vote for acquittal.

12TH JUROR: Well, it’s not so easy to arrange the evidence in order.

3RD JUROR: You can throw out all the other evidence. The woman saw him do it. What else do you want?

12TH JUROR: Well, maybe . . .

3RD JUROR: Let’s vote on it.

FOREMAN: OK. There’s another vote called for. Anybody object?

12TH JUROR: I’m changing my vote. I think he’s “guilty.”

3RD JUROR: Anybody else? The vote is eight to four.

11TH JUROR [to the 3RD JUROR]: What makes you consider this one vote a personal triumph?

3RD JUROR: I’m the competitive type. [To the others.] OK. Now here’s what I think. I think we’re a hung jury. Let’s take it inside to the Judge.

4TH JUROR: You didn’t want a hung jury before.

3RD JUROR: Well, I want it now.

4TH JUROR: I don’t understand that. You thought it was immoral to—

3RD JUROR: I don’t anymore. There are people in here who are so goddamned stubborn that you can’t even . . . We’ll never get this thing done. We’ll be here for a week. Well, I want to hear an argument. I say we’re a hung jury. [He turns to the 8TH JUROR.] Come on. You’re the leader of the cause. What about
it?

8TH JUROR: Let’s go over it again.

3RD JUROR: We went over it again. [He waves toward the 12TH JUROR.] J. Walter Thompson over there is bouncing backward and forward like a tennis ball . . .

12TH JUROR: Wait a second. You have no right to . . .

The 4TH JUROR removes his spectacles and polishes them.

3RD JUROR: I apologize on my knees. [To the 8TH JUROR.] Come on. Let’s get out from under this thing.

4TH JUROR: All right. Maybe we can talk about setting some kind of a time limit.

[Still polishing his spectacles, he turns and peers up at the clock.] The time is . . . [He squints and puts on his spectacles.]

3RD JUROR: Quarter after six.

4TH JUROR [looking at the clock]: Quarter after six. [He removes his spectacles and lays them on the table. He looks tired. He closes his eyes and clasps his fingers over the marks left by his spectacles at the sides of his nose. He rubs these areas as he speaks.] Someone before mentioned seven o’clock. I think that’s a point at which we might begin to discuss the question of whether we’re a hung jury or not.

The 9TH JUROR looks closely at the 4TH JUROR and obviously has thought of something tremendously exciting.

9TH JUROR [to the 4TH JUROR]: Don’t you feel well?

4TH JUROR: I feel perfectly well—thank you. [To the others.] I was saying that seven o’clock would be a reasonable time to—

9TH JUROR: The reason I asked about that was because you were rubbing your nose like . . . I’m sorry for interrupting. But you made a gesture that reminded me—

4TH JUROR: I’m trying to settle something here. Do you mind?

9TH JUROR: I think this is important.

4TH JUROR: Very well.

9TH JUROR: Thank you. I’m sure you’ll pardon me for this, but I was wondering whyyou were rubbing your nose like that?

3RD JUROR: Ah, come on, now, will ya please!

9TH JUROR: Right now I happen to be talking to this gentleman here. [To the 4TH JUROR.] Now, why were you rubbing your nose?

4TH JUROR: Well, if it’s any of your business, I was rubbing it because it bothers me a little.

9TH JUROR: I’m sorry. Is it because of your eye glasses?

4TH JUROR: It is. Now could we get on to something else?

9TH JUROR: Your eyeglasses make those deep impressions on the sides of your nose. I hadn’t noticed that before. They must be annoying.

4TH JUROR: They are very annoying.

9TH JUROR: I wouldn’t know about that. I’ve never worn eyeglasses. [He points to his eyes and smiles.] Twenty-twenty.

7TH JUROR: Listen, will you come on already with the optometrist bit.

9TH JUROR [to the 4TH JUROR]: The woman who testified that she saw the killing had these same deep marks on the sides of her nose.

8TH JUROR: That’s right, she did.

There is a silence in the room and then a babble of ad lib conversation.

9TH JUROR: Please. Just a minute and then I’ll be finished. I don’t know if anyone else noticed that about her. I didn’t think about it then, but I’ve been going over her face in my mind. She had those marks. She kept rubbing them in court.

5TH JUROR: He’s right. She did do that a lot.

9TH JUROR: This woman was about forty-five years old. She was making a tremendous effort to look thirty-five for her first public appearance. Heavy make-up. Dyed hair. Brand-new clothes that should have been worn by a younger woman. No eyeglasses. See if you can get a mental picture of her.

3RD JUROR: What d’ya mean, no glasses? You don’t know if she wore glasses. Just because she was rubbing her nose . . .

5TH JUROR: She has those marks. I saw ’em.

3RD JUROR: So what? What d’ya think that means?

FOREMAN: Listen, I saw ’em, too. He’s right. I was the closest one to her. She had these deep things, what d’ya call ’em, uh—you know.

The FOREMAN massages the spot on his nose where they should be.

3RD JUROR: Well, what point are you making here?

FOREMAN: She had those marks.

3RD JUROR: She had dyed hair and marks on her nose. I’m asking ya what does that mean?

9TH JUROR: Could those marks be made by anything other than eyeglasses?

4TH JUROR: No. They couldn’t.

3RD JUROR [to the 4TH JUROR]: Listen, what are you saying here? I didn’t see anymarks.

4TH JUROR: I did. Strange, but I didn’t think about it before.

3RD JUROR: Well, what about the lawyer? Why didn’t he say anything?

8TH JUROR: There are twelve people in here concentrating on this case. Eleven of us didn’t think of it, either.

3RD JUROR: OK, Clarence Darrow. Then what about the District Attorney? You think he’d try to pull a trick like that, have her testify without glasses?

8TH JUROR: Did you ever see a woman who had to wear glasses and didn’t want to because she thinks they spoil her looks?

6TH JUROR: My wife. Listen, I’m telling ya, as soon as we walk outa the house . . .

8TH JUROR: Maybe the District Attorney didn’t know, either.

6TH JUROR: Yeah, that’s what I was just gonna say.

3RD JUROR: OK. She had marks on her nose. I’m givin’ ya this. From glasses. Right? She never wore ’em out of the house so people’d think she was gorgeous. But when she saw this kid kill his father she was in the house. Alone. That’s all.

8TH JUROR [to the 4TH JUROR]: Do you wear your eyeglasses when you go to bed?

4TH JUROR: No, I don’t. No one wears eyeglasses to bed.

8TH JUROR: It’s logical to say that she wasn’t wearing them while she was in bed, tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep.

3RD JUROR: How do you know?

8TH JUROR: I don’t know. I’m guessing. I’m also guessing that she probably didn’t put on her glasses when she turned and looked casually out of the window. And she herself said that the murder took place just as she looked out and the lights went off a split second later. She couldn’t have had time to put glasses on then.

3RD JUROR: Wait a second . . .

8TH JUROR: And here’s another guess. Maybe she honestly thought she saw the boy kill his father. I say that she saw only a blur.

3RD JUROR: How do you know what she saw? How does he know all these things?[ To the 8TH JUROR.] You don’t know what kind of glasses she wore. Maybe she was farsighted. Maybe they were sunglasses. What do you know about it?

8TH JUROR: I only know that the woman’s eyesight is in question now.

11TH JUROR: She had to identify a person sixty feet away in the dark, without glasses.

2ND JUROR: You can’t send someone off to die on evidence like that.

3RD JUROR: Don’t give me that!

8TH JUROR: Don’t you think that the woman might have made a mistake?

3RD JUROR: No!

8TH JUROR: It’s not possible?

3RD JUROR: No! It’s not possible.

8TH JUROR [to the 12TH JUROR]: Is it possible?

12TH JUROR: Yes. I say “not guilty.”

8TH JUROR [to the 10TH JUROR]: Do you still think he’s guilty?

10TH JUROR: Yes, I think he’s guilty. But I couldn’t care less. You smart bastards do whatever you want to do.

8TH JUROR: How do you vote?

10TH JUROR: “Not guilty.” Do whatever you want.

3RD JUROR: You’re the worst son of a . . . I think he’s guilty.

8TH JUROR: Does anyone else think he’s guilty?

4TH JUROR: No, I’m convinced.

3RD JUROR: What’s the matter with you?

4TH JUROR: I now have a reasonable doubt.

9TH JUROR: It’s eleven to one.

3RD JUROR: Well, what about all the other evidence? What about all that stuff—the knife—the whole business?

2ND JUROR: You said we could throw out all the other evidence.

8TH JUROR [to the 3RD JUROR]: You’re alone.

3RD JUROR: I don’t care whether I’m alone or not. It’s my right.

8TH JUROR: It’s your right.

3RD JUROR: Well, what d’ya want? I say he’s guilty.

8TH JUROR: We want your arguments.

3RD JUROR: I gave you my arguments.

8TH JUROR: We’re not convinced. We want to hear them again. We have as much time as it takes.

3RD JUROR: Everything—every single thing that came out in that courtroom, but I mean everything, says he’s guilty. Do you think I’m an idiot or something? You lousy bunch of bleeding hearts. You’re not goin’ to intimidate me. I’m entitled to my opinion. I can sit in this goddamn room for a year. Somebody say something.

The others watch silently.

Why don’tcha take that stuff about the old man—the old man who lived there—and heard everything. Or take the knife, what—just because he—found one like it? Theold man saw him. Right there on the stairs. What’s the difference how many seconds it took? What’s the difference? Every single thing. The knife falling through a hole in his pocket—you can’t prove that he didn’t get to the door. Sure you can hobble
around the room all you want, but you can’t prove it. I’m telling you every single thing that went on has been twisted and turned in here. That business with the glasses, how do you know she didn’t have them on? The woman testified in court. Well, what d’ya want? That’s it.

The others are silent.

That’s the whole case.

The others are silent.

That whole thing about hearing the boy yell? The phrase was “I’m gonna kill you.” That’s what he said. To his own father. I don’t care what kind of man that was. It was his father. That goddamn rotten kid. I know him. What they’re like. What they do to you. How they kill you every day. MyGod, don’t you see? How come I’m the only one who sees? Jeez, I can feel that knife goin’ in.

8TH JUROR: It’s not your boy. He’s somebody else.

4TH JUROR: Let him live.

There’s a long pause.

3RD JUROR: All right. “Not guilty.”

The FOREMAN moves to the door and knocks on it.

The GUARD unlocks the door and enters.

FOREMAN: We have a verdict.

GUARD: All right, gentlemen. Take your seats in the jury box. The GUARD exits.

The FOREMAN and the other JURORS collect their jackets, etc., and all except the 3RD and the 8TH JURORS follow him off. The 3RD JUROR remains seated. Finally only he and the 8TH JUROR remain in the room. The 8TH JUROR puts onhis own jacket and brings the 3RD JUROR’s jacket to him. The 3RD JUROR rises. The 8TH JUROR helps him on with his jacket. The 3RD JUROR exits.

The 8TH JUROR follows, but pauses at the door and looks back at the empty juryroom. The knife still sticks into the table. The 8TH JUROR exits. The rain has stopped.

CURTAIN

DMU Timestamp: November 04, 2022 05:38