Inherit the Wind Analysis


"Inherit the Wind" is a book that uses fiction to present the themes. The book basically explores the Monkey trial of 1952 and is based on the conviction of one John. T. Scopes because of his teaching of the evolution theory that was proponed by Charles Darwin. John defied the state law of Tennessee, went ahead and taught the theory of evolution to a science class in high school. There is a correspondence in terms of the figures of H. L. Mancken, Scopes, Clarence Darrow and William Bryan who are represented in the pay by the characters: E. K. Hornbeck, Bertram Cates, Henry Drummond, and Mathew Brady respectively. The play's plot, however, does not depict the historical account of events at the opening but alters the timing of the events. The playwright crafts the happenings in such a way that there are fictional characters like the daughter and the preacher himself.

Aspect of freedom of thought

In this view, the play portrays the aspect of the freedom of thought. This is evident by the use of the evolution theory which in itself is considered as a parable. The right to think therefore is openly depicted in the play by the character Mathew Harrison Brandy. Through him, there is a reflection of beliefs and personalities that were attributed to William Jennings Bryan. Moreover, this connection is further evident by the similarities between the beliefs and personalities of Clarence Jennings Bryan as brought out in the play by the character Henry Drommond. There is a disagreement that ensues among good friends during the trial of Scopes, justifying the aspect of freedom of thought in the current society.

Significance of Scopes

In the play, there is a great feel of sympathy created around John Scopes who is in risk of losing his girlfriend and job for teaching the theory of evolution in school. In fact, Scopes is persecuted and is taken to jail for the same reason with imprisonment and fines being repeatedly mentioned as the consequences for the crimes he has committed. The actual sense is that there was never any jail term for Scopes, and the fine he could pay for such crime was a fine of 500 dollars according to the Butler Act. The reality was that Scopes had a degree in Law which he acquired from the Kentucky University and was not a teacher of Biology. He had just come to temporaily replace the teacher who was ill. He willingly decided to be involved in the trials as all the expenses were to be paid by the American Civil Liberties Union. It was all a conspiracy aimed at challenging the Butler law. This is a case of man verses society being entangled in a legal battle. The civil society felt that the laws were too harsh on the society thus needed to challenge it.

William Jennings

William Jennings Bryan is a pompous, stupid, intolerant, and a closed minded guy as portrayed in the play. The reality however is that he had actually read the evolution theory by Darwin twenty years before the trials of Scopes. Bryan has a lot of reservations toward the evolution theory basically due to his religious beliefs and had even written a lot of articles that were critical as far as the defense of the evolution theory is concerned. Bryan actually has valid points and criticism but his argument was too sophisticated and complex for normal men to understand. He ends up using Darrow's arguments to work to his advantage against Darrow. The case of man against the society presents itself in Bryan's case as he spoke with a lot of sincerity which was otherwise misunderstood by those close to him. Whatever he was saying never made any sense to those who were listening to him but he kept his tolerance.

The Christians of Tennessee and Dayton are, in the context of the play, portrayed to be discourteous, ignorant, and closed minded. There is also a lot of fiction involved in the prayer meetings that were organized by Reverend Brown in the play. Brown is used as a character that is factious and the author of the play does not mind how he is depicted. The Reverend is not humble and lacks love and compassion in his treat for others. The irony of it all is that the Reverent even goes as far as calling on the descending of the hell fire upon his own daughter, which is contrary to the expectations that we would have on a reverend.


From the above analysis of the play "Inherit the Wind" it is clear that the issues and themes in the play are reflections of the rue happening in historical time. The play depicts some inaccuracies in as much as the Biblical aspect of creation is concerned, and even depicts the unexpected iron in the way Christians carry out themselves. These sufferings are generally inflicted upon the critics by Christians who are basically ignorant and fundamentalists and who do not believe in the existence of any other freedom of thought. Moreover, there are a lot of substantive, systematic and intentional inaccuracies in the play as depicted through the character William Jennings Bryan who is sculptured to be a foolish guy throughout the play. Agnostics and skeptics are in the play viewed as being kind, intelligent, and heroic. In the writing the play "Inherit the Wind", I strongly believe there was no mush effort in portraying the beliefs of the main characters in an accurate and fair way, but the main theme was to portray the freedom of thought and the conflicts pitting man verses the society that are currently affecting the society.