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A meaningful play based on the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 in which a Tennessee teacher was tried for teaching evolution The accused was a slight frightened man who'd deliberately broken the law His trial was a Roman circus the chief gladiators being the two great legal giants of the century Locked in mortal combat they bellowed roared imprecations abuse The spectators sat uneasily in the sweltering heat with murder in their hearts barely restraining themselves America's freedom was at stake


10 thoughts on “Inherit the Wind

  1. says:

    The Scopes Monkey Trial1925 is perhaps the most famous trial in American history where a young teacher John Scopes was accused of teaching evolution in a school in the small town of Dayton Tennessee in violation of Tennessee's Butler Act which prohibited teaching evolution in any state funded school According to all reliable sources the trial was a put up job by some prominent locals to garner some publicity for the town knowing fully well that the ACLU had offered to take up the defense of anyone accused under this law John Scopes was a willing victim who was not sure at all he had taught evolution the battle was actually between fundamentalists and modernists within Christianity Even though the result was a foregone conclusion the trial accomplished its mission to bring science vs religion debate into the mainstream In this play however John Scopes has been transformed into Giles Bates an idealistic young teacher who has been victimised for standing on the side of scientific truth The whole town is out for his blood and he is really facing the ruin of his career His love interest Rachel is the daughter of Brown the town's fiery preacher thus providing the appropriate star crossed lover motif And battle here is for free speech in America fought out on the courtroom floor between Brady the conservative counsel for the prosecution and Drummond the agnostic barrister for the defence two legal GoliathsThe authors seem to have written this play as a reaction to McCarthyism and they have made it clear that even though it is based on the Scopes trial it is not historical However it does follow the actual course of events to great extent except for stretching the dramatic elements But it is not as a historical record that one should view this but rather as an impassioned plea for open thought and free speech and in that they have wonThe opening scene between the children sets the tone when little Howard says that he came from a worm which crawled out of the sea we can see that the gates to free thought has been opened in at least one tender mind As the play progresses and the action alternates between the town and the courthouse the audience can see a people being slowly transformed they still believe in the Bible yet they can now accept someone else can have a different line of thought The cross examination of Brady as a witness for the defense this really happened BTW by Drummond is the heart of the play the literal interpretation of scripture is here laid bare as the foolish exercise it is The real target of the drama is the audience and this seuence is bound to set at least some minds in the theatre thinkingI think this is one play which should be revived and not only in America With religious bigots stepping up their attack on secular elements across the world sometime even resorting to physical violence we should remind ourselves that the right to free speech has been won only with great effort It is very easy to lose it those of us who value it should fight tooth and nailAnd drama is one of the strongest media


  2. says:

    Inherit the WindHoward What’re yuh skeered of? You was a worm onceMelinda I wasn’t neitherHoward You was so When the whole world was covered with water there was nuthin’ but worms and blobs of jelly And you and your whole family was worms Melinda We was notHoward Blobs of jelly thenMelinda Howard Blair that’s sinful talk I’m gonna tell my pa and he’ll make you wash your mouth out with soapHoward Ah your old man’s a monkeyThis interaction between two small children on a courthouse lawn is the beginning of one of the most famous playsmovies of the 20th century It was inspired by the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Kentucky thirty years priorInherit the Wind is a play first staged in 1955 and perhaps thousands of times since Many people are familiar with the wonderful screen adaptation in 1960 starring Spencer Tracy and Frederic March The little boy Howard’s science teacher Bert Cates is about to face trial for blasphemy straight up violating the Butler act that bans teaching evolution in the classroomThis three act play takes place almost entirely in the courtroom Cates is defended by a famous lawyer Henry Drummond and is being prosecuted by an eually famous self righteous lawyer Matthew Brady SpoilerThe first act moves slowly as we are introduced to the main characters including Bert’s love interest Rachel who is ironically testifying against him in the upcoming trial Rachel unsuccessfully pleads with Bert to denounce evolution so that the prosecution will drop the case There is some anxiety for the prosecution as well They are led by Brady a character inspired by Williams Jennings Bryan They come to learn that Drummond the character inspired by Clarence Darrow will be defending BertSo in the second act the trial begins and we soon learn that it is going uite badly for the defense particularly when the bible thumping judge will not allow any of the defense’s expert witnesses on evolutionary science to testify Then in a move that strains credulity the pompous Brady agrees to testify as an expert on creationism The drama soon accelerates to a crescendo as Drummond takes advantage of Brady’s vanity and picks apart his creationist timelines Some in the crowd start to laugh at Brady and he is caught off guard by the ridicule The arguments eventually end and the jury is sent odd to deliberate They return a few hours later with the verdict — guilty The judge however seems to have been persuaded by Drummond’s arguments and sentences Bert to just a 100 fine In the very short third act a humiliated Brady has died of a heart attack immediately following the ruling A big city newspaper reporter is congratulates Drummond on the victory and disparages Brady A saddened Drummond uotes several bible verses and excoriates the reporter for not respecting diverse viewpoints Drummond then hops on the train to head out of town End of Spoiler 45 stars Highly recommended I am rating based on the story and the reading of the play not necessarily how it was performed on stage or adapted as a movie In a nutshell this is a masterfully wrought drama particularly the messaging The introduction where the children discuss evolution is pure genius And the last uarter of the play is eual genius It humanely captures the the embarrassment on the stand the verdict the judge sentencing and the reaction to the death


  3. says:

    Reading this book is like witnessing a debate with the resolution that reads Be it resolved that men are descendants of monkeys and not created from the image and likeness of God I heard about this play when I was 8 or 9 years old I was then in a Pacific island and it was late morning of a Good Friday and my mother told me to buy something from a store In the Philippines Maundy Thursday Good Friday and Black Saturdays were the days of a year in the island when there was an eerie silence all around the town All you could hear were mournful singing of the pasyon written in a local language being sung and it recounted the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ However on that Good Friday morning I heard the local translation of this book Inherit the Wind being dramatized over the local radio of our neighborSo when I saw a copy of this book last year I said to myself that I would also read it during the Lent So last Good Friday I began reading this It was really an apt Holy Week read The story is about a high school teacher who one day in 1925 lectures on Darwin's Theory of Evolution that men came from apes or from sea creatures At that time the Tennessee State Law prohibits the teaching of evolution as it runs contradictory to the Theory of Creation that men were created from the image and likeness of God So the Monkey Trial happened and it was the basis of this book I will not tell you which side won the debate done in a courtroom so as not to spoil your fun However I read that this is a reuired reading in high school so you might already know the endingOut of curiosity I asked this uestion to my 16 year old daughter who has not read this book yet She she said that her theory was God probably looks like a monkey I knew she was only kidding but the first time I heard these contradicting theories that blasphemous and ridiculous idea also came into my young silly mind And yes I don't like the images it creates that God Adam and Eve are like those characters in the movie The Planet of the Apes Personally how do I reconcile these two theories? I put evolution in my brain and creation in my heart and never the two shall meetAbout the title it came from Proverbs 1129 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart I just not sure how that verse connects to the storyHow about you which of the two do you believe ?


  4. says:

    I reread the script after seeing the play I better appreciated that the characters are fully developed not cardboard cutouts It is worth noting that this play is not about science vs all religion but a religious subsect that takes the Bible as literal or completely inerrant Though written in the 1950s about the 1920s Scopes trial stage timing is not too long ago Lawrence and Lee say It might have been yesterday It could be tomorrow Indeed the play is still fresh Note especially the stage direction of They are colorful small town citizens but not caricatured rubes and Drummond's reaction to the journalist at the end of the playNice shout out to the University of Chicago as Drummond presents his caseBonus In N Texas a sterling production by Tony Award winning DTC for the next few weeks


  5. says:

    375 Definitely blew my expectations out of the water As a school book I thought I would hate it but that was not the case Acts 1 and 2 were mindblowing and it was only act 3 that pulled my rating down a bit I really recommend this book


  6. says:

    Goodreads Friend Sologdin offers wonderful reviews and insights into the world of ideas His recent of Inherit the Wind gave me pause; this play was likened to Ayn Rand in that the villains were very underdeveloped and stereotypical I place the uotations around the pronoun as I don't know with any certainty whether it is indeed a male That said I have seen the film adaptation of Inherit the Wind at least a dozen times I especially like Gene Kelly as Mencken I tried to approach my reading as objectively as possible but that failed miserably as I recalled nearly line by line in the 1960 film adroitly directed by Stanley Kramer I can see the reference to wooden antagonists but is any character in the play truly developed? Only Rachel and Ben appear either innocent or noble The premise of the play is very simple taking the Scopes Monkey Trial as a point of departure ruralSouthern insular hostility to outsideurban oversight is coupled with the hysteria of the McCarthy hearings and attendant paranoia My chief issue with the film was the closing shot of Spencer Tracy hesitating between the Bible and Origin of Species and finally taking both Alas this scene is in the play


  7. says:

    Whilst I uite enjoyed reading the play I was disappointed with the content of it For a defence of the right to think for one's self there appeared to be very little independent thinking going on It was a presentation of people taking up ready made positions on one side or other of the controversy for ill explained reasons then playing attack defence with statements worthy only of the worst of the tabloids or these days of Prime Ministers uestion timeI also found the production notes at the end concerning the natures of the various characters very irritating If the authors of plays feel the need to explain what their characters are really like then for me it points to very unsuccessful writing of the actual script


  8. says:

    I just finished teaching this play for the second time I read it with students in a composition course focused on topics at the intersection of freedom and literacy In spite of its overly familiar subject matter the play is actually uite enjoyable in the way it uses the historical Scopes Monkey Trials as a test case for thinking through the problems of the McCarthy era and in fact our own The character development is uite interesting Hornbeck is a fabulous villain perhaps the most complex character in the play and a good topic for book club discussion The plot only intentionally develops Rachel's character but the audience develops in its response to Drummond in what the play slowly and subtly reveals about him; the play seems to make this move in order to illustrate the need to keep an open mind about people you might otherwise reject out of hand While the play has a tendency toward the didactic its desire to be open the moves it makes toward a fair presentation of its most disagreeable characters creates space for fascinating discussion of authorial intent and the composition process Because you can see the thought processes of the authors so transparently it doesn't make my list of great American literary works despite what the back of the book says but I do think it's fun intellectual candy It's got enough substance that you feel like you've done something productive but not so much that you're stumped


  9. says:

    I have a lot of trouble grasping the metaphor of the title Biblical language just confuses me I think this play raises interesting ideas was probably very revolutionary at the time it was published but I'm just too old and liberal and jaded to be reading it in 2009 Two things that really bothered me1 What's up with Rachel? She's such a boring little ingenue hammering us over the head with how torn she is between doctrine and instinct and you just want to slap her in the face and tell her to grow a pair The preacher's daughter is torn between what's she been taught all her life and her new experiences that contradict those teachings have we not seen this a million times? Was that not already a kind of stock character at that point in history? The two lawyers are actually really well developed characters as is most of the supporting cast but Rachel and Bert too are just like these boring placeholders If Bert's such a brave and smart guy then why does he come off like such a miluetoast?2 Did the William Jennings Bryan character really have to keel over and die right after the trial? Wikipedia says he died in his sleep a few days later I'm impressed at how they were able to make him so sympathetic but the death was melodramaticThere's a lot of great stuff in this play but it could use an update maybe it could be subtle on those points I'm sure I would have loved it in high school though


  10. says:

    “Inherit the Wind” is one of the few plays we have read as a class that I actually enjoyed Most of the time I don’t even read the plays or books we’re reading in class They are always boring and old plays or books about stuff I don’t understand or care to understand This was not one of them The main reasons I liked this play is that it was about a real life experience that actually happened Another reason I liked it was because of the themes and messages it gave One of the most important things to me is the fact that I am able to make my own decisions on basically everything I am not forced to do anything too major that I don’t want I am able to make my own decisions when it comes to deciding what I am doing with my life My parents and other people that are close to me influence me to do what they believe is right I always have the final decision on it and that is important This play also is a good way to show that if you believe in a topic or don’t believe in it you should stand up and say something about it I recommend this play to high school students because it is a great way to show people that they should stand up for what they believe in and take pride in it This would actually be a good book for anyone to read and I would recommend it because I enjoyed it