Twelve Angry Men

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Foreman Character Analysis

The leader of the jurors who facilitates the process of voting and discussion. The Foreman believes in the guilt of accused for a majority of the play. He is not particularly intelligent or actively involved in the debate, but he is focused and does not change his opinion lightly. He enjoys his own authority.

Foreman Quotes in Twelve Angry Men

The Twelve Angry Men quotes below are all either spoken by Foreman or refer to Foreman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the The Dramatic Publishing Company edition of Twelve Angry Men published in 1983.
Act 1 Quotes

Five: I've lived in a slum all my life.

Ten: Oh, now wait a second!

Five: I used to play in a back yard that was filled with garbage. Maybe it still smells on me.

Foreman: Now let's be reasonable. There's nothing personal.

[Five stands up.]

Five: There is something personal!

Related Characters: Foreman (speaker), Five (speaker), Ten (speaker)
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Juror Five, who is more youthful than the other jurors and who comes from a poor background, takes objection to Ten's ongoing prejudice against the group of people that includes the kid. This prejudice seems to be based on the group's low socio-economic class, which Ten sees as contributing to their violence toward others and their deceptive natures. Five realizes that Ten could be speaking about him, indirectly, because his background makes him a member of this group. Ten immediately backtracks and the Foreman tries to soothe the situation, but the Foreman's comment points out the problem with Ten's prejudice. The Foreman tries to soothe Five by saying that their is nothing personal in Ten's comments, meaning he is not directly attacking Five. But Five sees how his prejudice, although spoken generically about a group of people, directly impacts individual people, of which he could be considered one. 

This diversity within the jury shows the jury to be a "slice" of American life. Ten is pitted against the accused, but Five is sympathetic toward him because he sees the similarities in their lives. The jurors represent a variety of different viewpoints because of their different backgrounds. Because of this diversity, the jury, as a whole, is able to consider the accused kid and the evidence from a variety of different angles of prejudice and sympathy that, ideally, balance each other out in their decision-making process. 

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Foreman Character Timeline in Twelve Angry Men

The timeline below shows where the character Foreman appears in Twelve Angry Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
...might return to find his company gone if they don’t hurry up the deliberations. The Foreman suggests in response that serving on a jury is their duty, while Juror Three jokes... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
The Foreman then comments that he had a friend who wanted to be on the jury instead... (full context)
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
...cruelty of the murder by saying, “look at the kind of people they are.” The Foreman gets the two of them to stop chatting and take their seats. (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
...Seven, meanwhile, expresses his impatience to get to a current Broadway show that night. The Foreman also corrals Juror Eight, who is standing at the window not paying attention, to sit... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
...gentlemen,” and stick to the facts. Juror Twelve says okay, “if you insist,” and the Foreman quickly goes along with Juror Four. (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Stubbornness and Taking a Stand Theme Icon
...argument between him and Juror Seven. Juror Four proposes the compromise of trading chairs. The Foreman redirects everyone back to the case. (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
...table and each try to convince Juror Eight “that we’re right and he’s wrong.” The Foreman and Juror Four immediately agree that this proposal is fair and Juror Two timidly starts... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
...switch knife the boy bought. Juror Eight responds by asking to see the knife again—the Foreman looks at him questioningly before talking to the guard. Juror Three doesn’t want to look... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
...gasps and a long silence. Juror Ten shouts, “who do you think you are?” The Foreman shouts for quiet. (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...same, then he will vote “guilty” too. Juror Seven, Juror Four, Juror Twelve and the Foreman quickly agree, while Juror Eleven agrees more slowly. The men write down their votes and... (full context)
Act 2
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
The foreman removes the switch knife from the wall and returns it to the guard at the... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
...at stake, Eight reminds them. Three is angry, but Seven calms him down, while the Foreman says he doesn't want any fights in the jury room. (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Stubbornness and Taking a Stand Theme Icon
The Foreman encourages the jurors to refocus on their job. Two offers a cough drop and Eight... (full context)
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
...his apartment because he doesn't remember. Ten says that he thought Eight remembered everything. The Foreman requests the floor plan of the apartments from the Guard at the door. Three asks,... (full context)
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
...out that the old man swore under oath that it took 15 seconds. Eleven, the Foreman, and Four acknowledge that there is a dramatic difference between 15 and 39 seconds. Eight... (full context)
Act 3
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
The Guard enters the jury room because he heard the shouting. The Foreman says there's nothing wrong and returns the diagram of the apartments. The jurors are silent.... (full context)
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
...it to be an open ballot vote, so they know where each juror stands. The Foreman, Three, Four, Seven, Ten, and Twelve vote guilty. Two, Five, Six, Eight, Nine, and Eleven... (full context)
Stubbornness and Taking a Stand Theme Icon
The Foreman says he doesn't think they'll ever agree on anything. Eight points out that at first... (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
The Foreman proposes another vote to determine whether or not the jurors think they're a hung jury.... (full context)
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Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
...fingerprints and get down the stairs, so the old man could have seen him. The Foreman says that they reconstructed the old man's movements and timed them, so they should also... (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
...Eight if that apology was what he was looking for. Eight says it was. The Foreman says that they should all stop arguing and focus on constructive ideas only. Two says... (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
Eight calls for another vote and the Foreman says they will vote by show of hands. He asks that all those voting “not... (full context)
Reflection of American Society Theme Icon
Prejudice vs. Sympathies Theme Icon
...window. Ten says he's known some of these people and they have no feelings. The Foreman, Seven, and Twelve go to the window. Ten says these people are no good and... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Certainty and Doubt Theme Icon
Stubbornness and Taking a Stand Theme Icon
...he is convinced there is a reasonable doubt. Eight tells Three that he's alone. The Foreman says that there are 11 votes for “not guilty” and one for “guilty.” (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Stubbornness and Taking a Stand Theme Icon
Three surrenders. The other jurors rise and the Foreman goes to the door. The Guard lets all the jurors out except Three and Eight.... (full context)