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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.


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ACT II

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The same. Immediately following.

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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.

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The GUARD unlocks the door and enters.

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

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FOREMAN: No. There’s nothing wrong.

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The FOREMAN collects the apartment plan from the table.

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Just a little argument. Everything’s OK.

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The FOREMAN hands the plan to the GUARD.

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We’re finished with this.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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FOREMAN: How do I know?

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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.

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The room begins to darken perceptibly now.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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Pardon me, don’t you sweat?

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4TH JUROR: No. I don’t.

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

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

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6TH JUROR: Mr. Foreman?

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

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

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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?

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2ND JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Three?

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3RD JUROR: “Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Four?

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4TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Five?

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5TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Six?

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6TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Seven?

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7TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Eight?

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8TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Nine?

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9TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Ten?

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10TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Eleven?

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11TH JUROR: “Not Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Number Twelve?

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12TH JUROR: “Guilty.”

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FOREMAN: Six to six.

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

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

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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.

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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?

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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 . . .

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

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

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11TH JUROR: Do you want some water?

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9TH JUROR: No, thanks.

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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.

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2ND JUROR: It’s going to rain.

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

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

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

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

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

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2ND JUROR: Now, that’s not so.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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The FOREMAN moves to the 8TH JUROR.

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

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8TH JUROR: Yeah, I guess so.

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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.

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

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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.

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The 8TH JUROR smiles briefly.

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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.

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

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The 4TH JUROR enters the washroom from the lavatory.

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

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it musta been connected to the light switch.

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

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

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The 4TH JUROR nods.

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

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The 4TH JUROR nods.

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Kind of surprising, isn’t it?

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4TH JUROR: Yes.

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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.

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

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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.

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4TH JUROR: Fine. We all are.

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

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

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

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

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

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10TH JUROR: How?

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4TH JUROR: Just by using logic.

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10TH JUROR: Logic! Holy cow!

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

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10TH JUROR: You want my opinion?

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4TH JUROR: Go ahead.

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10TH JUROR: I think we should just quit.

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

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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?

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

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10TH JUROR: Why not?

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

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

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

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10TH JUROR: No. Why should I?

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

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

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4TH JUROR: I know.

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

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

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

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The 4TH JUROR leaves the washroom.

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

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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.

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

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FOREMAN: Look, would you please . . .

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

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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.

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

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

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7TH JUROR: Well, let’s find out.

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11TH JUROR: I’m not in favor of this.

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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.

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

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7TH JUROR: No, I don’t.

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

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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!

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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?

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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4TH JUROR: I do.

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8TH JUROR: Under great emotional stress?

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4TH JUROR: Under great emotional stress.

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

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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.

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

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4TH JUROR: Go ahead.

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8TH JUROR: Where were you last night?

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4TH JUROR: I was home.

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8TH JUROR: What about the night before last?

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10TH JUROR: Come on, what is this?

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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.

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8TH JUROR: And the night before that?

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

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8TH JUROR: And Monday night.

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

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

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8TH JUROR: What did you see?

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

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8TH JUROR: What was the second feature?

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

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

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

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

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

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8TH JUROR: Who else?

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

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

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

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4TH JUROR: No, I wasn’t.

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9TH JUROR: I think the point is made.

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10TH JUROR: Big point!

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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?

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

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

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12TH JUROR: His unconscious mind.

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FOREMAN: Nobody else’s.

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11TH JUROR: I beg pardon, in discussing—

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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6TH JUROR: What time is it?

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

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12TH JUROR: There goes your ball game.

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

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

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

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

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

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12TH JUROR: OK with me.

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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?

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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?

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

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3RD JUROR: OK. Let it be more.

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

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

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2ND JUROR: Look out!

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

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6TH JUROR: That’s not funny.

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

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

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8TH JUROR: No. Nobody’s hurt.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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8TH JUROR: How do you use it?

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5TH JUROR: Underhanded.

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

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

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8TH JUROR: Are you sure?

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5TH JUROR: I’m sure.

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

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

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5TH JUROR: That’s right.

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

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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 . . .

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