In Inherit The Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, is about a big trial in a small town, and a controversial Creation versus Evolution debate. There are many characters with flamboyant and powerful personalities. Among them are: Matthew Harrison Brady, and Henry Drummond. Although all of these influential people are powerful, not all of them have the same amount of power, not only over other people, but over themselves as well.
Matthew Harrison Brady is a very powerful, and revered man at the beginning of the playwright, however his power declines as the play continues. At the beginning of the novel, Brady is the most powerful person in the state. From the period he got off the train, to the trial, he was lionized. He heads up the creationist side, and is very well liked among the people of Hilsboro. When he is called to the stand by Drummond, all of the power in the room shifts. This is especially notable in the movie.
Brady is the biggest fish, in a small town. When he is asked about how he stands on the bible, he responds with this quote “I believe that it is not boastful to say that I have studied the bible as much as any other layman. And I have tried to live according to its precepts” page 85. This quote shows how much power over himself he has, because of how the bible relates to himself, and how much more he knows than the townspeople. This is why the townspeople love him so much.
He is the Valedictorian in their favorite subject, he is the multi-billionaire in the field that interests them the most. And then one day, all of his power falls. Like the stock market crashing, and his stock falling two thousand points. A quote that represents his last battle in the courtroom, is “We must not abandon faith, faith is an important thing.” page 93. This quote is a metaphor for how he does not want the townspeople to lose faith in him. Matthew Harrison Brady needed to be loved, and he was not loved at the end of the novel. He died, and nobody really cared. This shows how Matthew Harrison Brady’s power rose and fell like the sea-green waves of the ocean.
Henry Drummond has the most power throughout the play. Although many don’t realize it until the end, he is the middle man, and has chosen to take the middle way out of his conflict. He was able to find the right balance of religion and science, which many people lack. He was the growing fish in a small pond, just waiting for his opportunity to eat up Brady, and be the biggest fish in the pond. In the movie, he seems more hated at the beginning, than in the play. In the courtroom, his power shifts for the better. Brady said “I’ve seen what you can do to a jury, twist and tangle them” page 47.
This shows how Drummond has power over everyone, even without them knowing it. He just has that sort air about him that tells you he knows what he’s doing, even though he may not win. When he calls Brady up to the stand, the power completely changes. Drummond now has full power over the courtroom, and is making Brady look like a fool. He started bombarding not only Brady, but the townsfolk as well with a barrage of questions. All of them examining their beliefs and lifestyle choices, and others targeting their views directly on Charles Darwin, and his theory of evolution. Among these questions are: How Long Really Is A Day?, and What about his wife? He relates Brady to Golden Dancer, his rocking horse when he was a kid. He tells Cates that Brady is shiny and pretty on the outside, but is really just spit and wax on the inside. A quote that represents how he has power over himself is “Lady, when you lose your power to laugh, you lose your power to think straight.” page 50.
This shows how much more self power he has over himself. He has so much self power, and that is finally what allows him to have the most power in the end. His defining point is his confidence. This is why Drummond is the most powerful person throughout the novel.
As you can see the two most powerful people throughout Inherit The Wind are Drummond and Brady. These two eventually fought it out until the last one left surviving won. The lawyer who found a certain middle way peace ended up winning in the end. Many people had power throughout the play, but clearly only one person had the most power at the play’s finish.