Themes of Bias in Twelve Angry Men, Antigone by Sophocles and in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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While we always like to believe that we are rational and logical, we are commonly and constantly influenced by constant bias in our lives. Sometimes these biases are easy to recognize and sometimes they are far more difficult to notice. Bias affects our decision-making process throughout the entire day and influences how we think, how we feel, and how we behave. We are often incorrectly influenced by all types of people, for instance, we can be incorrectly diagnosed by a doctor but we are biased to believe everything they say because they are supposed to be professionals. We can also be biased because of our own beliefs. For example, If I was to see a horrific car accident because someone drank and drive, I would be biased to not drinking at all because I would believe that a horrible accident would happen because I simply had a drink. Bias can also be formed through a group of people. If I have a certain belief that is not true but others believe the same information then my own beliefs are causing bias in other people's minds.

Bias influences the story of Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Ross because the jurors are racist towards the young boy because of the color of his skin. The themes of bias continue to Antignone by Sophocleswith the thought that men are above women. The men of the time were biased to think that they were more powerful than the women of their society because men were considered to be strong and fearless whereas women were not viewed that way. In The Tragedy of Julius Cesar by William Shakespeare, Brutus is bias towards Cassius because Julius is easily persuaded to kill one of his close friends. This is a great example of how the beliefs of a group can influence an individual even though those beliefs are wrong and cause harm. Bias is everywhere in our lives and is clearly outlined in many forms in the plays, Twelve Angry Men, Antigone, and Julius Caesar.

In the play Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Ross everyone has a bias. For example at the beginning when the foreman takes a vote, “7 or 8 hands go up immediately several others go up more slowly. Everyone looks around the table…”(Rose,1,14). This shows that right away eleven out of the twelve jurors think that the boy is guilty. This means that the jurors have bias towards the fact that he is guilty because they don't even want to discuss the case before they might wrongly convict a young boy of murder. However juror Eight responds saying, “I don't want to change your mind. I just want to talk for a while. Look this boy has been kicked around all his life…”(Rose,1,16). This shows that juror Eight actually cares about the case and what could happen to a possibly innocent boy. This means that he has a bias towards the kid being not guilty elaborating that just because hes comes from a bad background doesn't mean hes a murderer. In conclusion, the theme is evident because of the jurors being biased and unbiased toward the kid.

In the play Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose everyone has a bias. For example when juror Nine and Ten are arguing Ten says, “You're not going to tell us that were supposed to believe him, knowing what he is. I've lived among ‘em all my life. You can't believe a word they say. You know that.”(Rose,act 1,19). This shows that he believes the boy is guilty because of his race and background. This means that he is biased against the boy because he is being prejudiced and stereotypical. Another example is when juror Eight is talking to Ten about evidence he says, “ I'd like to ask you something. How come you believe her? She's one of ‘them’ too, isn't she?”(Rose,act 2,27). This shows that juror Eight acknowledges the fact that juror Ten is racist and stereotyping the boy and his community. This means that juror Eight is still biased towards the boy because he knows some of the jurors are racist and prejudiced towards African Americans. This furthermore proves the theme of bias in the play by the jurors changing their biases on the kid.

In the play Antigone by Sophocles, everyone has a bias. For example, Antigone talking about Creon says, “Creon buried our brother Etocles with military honors, gave him a soldiers funeral, and it was right that he should; but Polyneices, they fought as bravely and died as miserably, -- They say that Creon has sworn no one shall bury, no one shall mourn for him (Sophocles, act 1, 15-19).” This shows that Creon buried one of the brothers with a huge amazing funeral but left the other to rot away in a field. This proves that Creon is biased towards Eteocles because of how much he did for him and not Polyneices. Another example is when Antigone is arguing with her sister, Ismene says, “The law is strong we must give in to the law on this thing and in worse. I beg the dead to forgive me, but I am helpless; I must yield to those in authority…(Sophocles, act 1, 49-51).” This shows that Ismene is thinks that obeying the law is more important than burying her brother. This means that Ismene is biased towards following the laws because that takes priority over her brother. Therefore the theme of everyone has a bias is shown by Ismene and Creon in their own situations.

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In the play Antigone by Sophocles, everyone has a bias. For example, when Creon is punishing Antigone he says, “You, there, take them away and guard them well: For they are but women, and even brave men run when they see death coming. (Sophocles,1,461-463)” This shows that Creon is saying that even brave strong men run away from death, who knows what these weak women will do. This means that Creon is biased towards men over women because he thinks men are superior. Another example is when Haimon is talking to his father about Antigone’s punishment he says, “Muttering and whispering in the dark about this girl. They say no woman has ever, so unreasonably, Died so shameful a death for a generous act: “She covered her brother’s body. Is this indecent? She kept him from dogs and vultures. Is this a crime? Death? ––She should have all the honor that we can give her!” This shows that Haimon is trying to change his father's mind about putting Antigone to death for just trying to properly bury her brother and saying she did no wrong. This means that Haimon is biased toward Antigone because he's trying to argue with his father who is the king and what he says goes but he's willing to fight his father for her life. Therefore the theme of bias is shown by Haimon choosing Antigone over his father and Creon saying men are superior than women.

In the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, everyone has a bias. For example, the cobbler says to Flavius, “Truly, sir, to wear their shoes to get me into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.”(Shakespear, act 1, scene 1, lines 30-32). This shows that the citizens are so excited to see the new king that they all took off work claiming his arrival is a holiday. This means that the citizens have a bias towards the new king because they are celebrating him defeating their old king and his arrival. Another example is Murellus responding to the cobbler saying, “Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home? What tributaries follow him to Rome To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels? You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things…”(Shakespear, act 1, scene 1, lines 33-35). This shows that Murellus is very upset about the fact that the citizens are praising Caesar because of how much he tried to defend Pompe. This means that Murellus is biased toward Pompe over Caesar because of how much he thinks Pompe did for Rome. In conclusion, both the cobbler and Murellus are biased toward who they think is the better king.

In the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by WIlliam Shakespear everyone has a bias. For example, when Flavius is talking to Murellus he says, “See whether their basest metal be not moved. They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness. Go you down that way towards the Capitol. This way will I. Disrobe the images, If you do find them decked with ceremonies.”(Shakespear, act 1, scene 1, lines 61-65). This shows that Flavius dislikes Caesar so much that he is going to go around and break up any groups excited for his arrival as well as destroy all the decorations in honor of him. This means that Flavius has a huge bias towards Pompey and hates that people are excited for his replacement with Caesar. Another example is when Cassius is talking about Caesar to Brutus he says, “He had a fever when he was in Spain,And when the fit was on him, I did mark How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake! His coward lips did from their color fly, And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan, Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans…”(Shakespear, act 1, scene 2, lines 121-127). This shows that Cassius thinks Caesar shouldn’t be called immortal because he saw Caesar get sick showing he's very weak and not the rightful person to sit on the throne and be called a god.

This means that Cassius has a bias against Caesar because he feels like he or Brutus could be a better king then he ever will. In conclusion, the theme is shown by Cassius and Flavius having a bias against Caesar.

By examining all three of these writings, we can see that bias affects all of the characters in the stories. All aspects of our lives can be affected by bias, from the jurors in Twelve Angry Men judging a young boy solely based on the color of his skin to Brutus condemning one of his greatest friends to death. We as individuals can move beyond the bias and embrace logic to see situations more clearly while also making better judgments in our everyday lives. Bias is something that can be completely avoided by changing our perspective on topics and problems in front of us.

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Themes of Bias in Twelve Angry Men, Antigone by Sophocles and in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
“Themes of Bias in Twelve Angry Men, Antigone by Sophocles and in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022,
Themes of Bias in Twelve Angry Men, Antigone by Sophocles and in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2024].
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