Twelve Angry Men and Gioconda Smile

The drama Twelve Angry Men unfolds with an 18 years old boy from a slum being on trial for killing his violent father. A jury composed of twelve men is in the deliberation house to decide the providence of the boy. All proof is against him and, as a result, the guilty decree sends the boy to meet his death in the electric chair.

The drama Twelve Angry Men depicts prejudice in several instances. In the most open consideration, the drama deals with racial prejudice (Rose 12). While, noticeably, the race of the boy is never certain, the audiences know that he is a minority from the slums (Rose 17). For this reason, his residential origin has resulted in a heated debate among the jurors, particularly for Juror 3, who refers to the accused as one of them.

Considering prejudice in a broader perspective, it comes out that, while maybe not racially provoked, most of the jurors get in the deliberation room with a preconceived perception as well as irritation ideas (Rose 23). Juror 3 is deemed to be prejudiced totally against the boy simply because he is young and seemingly reminds him of his son’s devastating experience.

Even prior to judgment, considering their conversations, it is evident that most of these men are so sure that the boy is guilty. Nonetheless, when the juries decide to take the actual poll, Juror 8, Henry Fonda, reveals an appalling “not guilty vote.” At once, the house experiences uproar as the remaining juries rail against the inconvenience of Henry Fonda’s decision (Rose 31). Surprisingly, after doubting his sanity, they hurriedly make a decision to please him to discuss the case for one more hour (Rose 39). Ultimately, as the discussion proceeds, Juror 8 gradually challenges their confidence by pronouncing that the murder weapon can be accessed by anybody, besides the evidence of the primary is suspect. Progressively, the remaining jurors are won over by the statement made by Juror 8, and even the remaining shallow-minded jurors tentatively side with him (Rose 46). All the incidents shown by Juror 8 are a form of reversed prejudice.

Though, at the end of the drama, there is a frightening reversal of prejudice, as the entire bench of jurors changes their vote to not guilty, except for Juror 3, who is advised by Juror 8 that; ‘The result is eleven to one, and therefore you are alone(Rose 56).” Consequently, the phrase describes the Juror 3 as one perversely stubborn individual who has refused to cross over to the side of reason.

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On the other hand, in the book of The Gioconda Smile, there are a lot of stereotyping and prejudices depicted by the major character, Henry Hutton, who is a male chauvinist. The narration shows that there is a collapse of woman’s prominence in popular culture with regard to a woman’s role (Huxley 43). Henry Hutton ridicules society’s poise of women. Fallen or not, this character undercuts conventional morality by having an entirely different perspective about women. He refers to himself as The Christ of women.

Therefore, as seen in the narrative, prejudices, to some extent, affect the women who do not relate to Henry directly and do not receive the author’s sympathy for sparing them. Evidently, such innocent characters like Hutton’s wife are punished by death, but at the same time, there are those who benefit from such tragedies, for instance, Janet Spence (Faxneld 17). Hutton is a bigamist as well as a blackmailer that thrives in darkness and never found by his wife or members of his community. Although Janet is not in any way better than Henry Hutton regarding their traits, she manages to get off scot-free at the end (Huxley 86). Although she does not come out as a fallen woman, she fails every single ethical test, which in turn paints women negatively.

Janet Spence is undeniable responsible for the death of Emily, Hutton’s first wife, given that she deliberately poisoned her by putting arsenic into her coffee (Faxneld 23). In this context, Hutton is not directly responsible for Emily’s death, but due to his adulterous nature, he makes Spence kill Emily because she wants to remain with Hutton and own him. On the same note, after Mr. Henry Hutton gets married to one of his mistresses by the name Doris, after the death of Emily, Ms. Spence appears spiteful and spread the rumor that it is Mr. Hutton who killed Emily by poisoning her to allow him to marry his long time lover Doris(Huxley 27). With all possible considerations, the case is decided against Mr. Hutton as he is found guilty, and he is given a death sentence.

Mr. Hutton’s relationship with Doris makes the latter to attempt murder after being influenced by Ms. Spence, who is being carried away with jealousy (Faxneld 25). Mr. Hutton has no respect for women; he sees them as merely sex creatures meant to entertain him. However, eventually, he learns his lesson after destroying the lives of many women.

To sum up, prejudice is not a significant virtue that one is expected to possess with regard to any situation. In both cases, it is evident that honesty in any situation is crucial. Both contents were written directly for the audiences rather than just as an offshoot of an effort that had achieved success in giving incarnations. Indeed, they are educative and applicable in the contemporary world.


Works Cited

Faxneld, Per. “Mona Lisa’s Mysterious Smile.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, vol. 19, no.4, 2016, pp. 14-32.

Huxley, Aldous. The Gioconda Smile and Other Stories. Large Print Books, 1988.

Rose, Reginald. Twelve Angry Men: A Play in Three Acts. Dramatic Pub. Co, 2012.