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Kangaroo Court / Theatre

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  • Hermione's trial in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. Her husband, the King of Sicily, is sure before her trial that she was adulterous. She's doomed right from the start.
  • In The Crucible, simply having your name screamed by a child in court was enough to prove your guilt. From that point it was a matter of demanding a confession with the threat of hanging if they didn't. Sadly, this is Truth in Literature, since it's based on the actual Salem Witch Trials and the HUAC hearings of the McCarthy era. It gets to the point at which even members of that Kangaroo Court are subjected to a Kangaroo Court. When one of the "afflicted" girls tries to admit that she was pretending, the other girls in turn pretend that she's a witch who's tormenting them. Guess who's the one that everyone believes?
  • The jury in Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury are instructed by the Usher to ignore anything the defendant says so that they can remain impartial:
    And when amid the plaintiff's shrieks,
    The ruffianly defendant speaks
    Upon the other side;
    What he may say you needn't mind.
    From bias free of every kind,
    This trial must be tried!
  • In The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Mahagonny's justice system is comprised of the three fugitives from justice who founded the town in the first place. Whether accused criminals are acquitted or convicted depends largely on whether they can secretly negotiate with the judge over the size of a bribe.
  • Horton's trial in Seussical. Literally. As in the prosecutor is the Sour Kangaroo.
  • Oklahoma!! has the final sequence being the entire town holding a mock trial to excuse Curly for a murder charge. Regardless of whether or not he should have been guilty, they didn't even bother to hide that they were going to happily let him go after a few seconds.
  • All three of Jesus's 'trials' in Jesus Christ Superstar.
    "We need him crucified. That's all you have to do."
  • Anne's trial for adultery in Anne of the Thousand Days.
    "You know this is not a trial, Uncle Norfolk! It's like an evil dream, with no witnesses, no defense for the accused, no sifting of evidence, no waft of air from the outside, and yet I'm being tried here for my life — and five men are being tried!"


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