The jury room where the entire action of the play occurs has a single window. The jurors disagree on whether or not this window should be open or closed. This disagreement foreshadows and symbolizes the deep divides between the jurors that will prevent them from agreeing throughout most of the play. The jurors see each other initially as members of different groups based on socio-economic factors, employment, country of origin, and, presumably, race. These divisions are accompanied by complex prejudices that prevent the jurors from adequately judging the accused and from fairly judging each other. Many of the jurors are not afraid to express both their prejudices and their preferences, and this contrariness is demonstrated in the strong-minded opinions about the window. The play deals with the nuances of standing one’s ground for a good cause versus being stubborn for the sake of stubbornness. The window allows a certain type of stubbornness to be demonstrated early on. However, late in the play, the window is linked to a more meaningful version of standing one’s ground, as the jurors move to look out the window during Ten’s prejudiced rant. The act of moving to the window is equated with an active refusal to listen to and participate in Ten’s prejudice. The window is therefore linked to a silent, yet powerful, opinionated act of standing one’s ground.
The window Symbol Timeline in Twelve Angry Men
The timeline below shows where the symbol The window appears in Twelve Angry Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...contains twelve “uncomfortable-looking” straight chairs, a clock, a water cooler, a garbage can, a single window and door, and nothing else. The Guard opens the window, surveys the room, and moves... (full context)