Inherit the Wind Study Guide

Inherit the Wind Study Guide

Original title:
Inherit the Wind

The whole play is dedicated to the depiction of a single trial that took place in real history: the Scopes (Monkey) Trial that happened in 1925. John T. Scopes, a teacher was accused of teaching his students the theory of evolution created by Charles Darwin. This case was depicted in history inaccurately for a long time, used to propagate either one or the other point of view, but the final point was made by Lawrence who said that the case isn’t about science versus religion. It is about the right to speak and choice of the point of view.

The play features not only the story of the teacher who dared to say about Darwin’s theory, named Cates here, but also about the life-long friendship of two law attorneys, who now have to oppose each other in court, because their beliefs appeared to be very controversial. Both brilliant public speakers and experienced lawyers they deliver speeches defending their own worldviews. The case of Cates becomes just a reason to them to finally express them aloud.

The end of the story is very bittersweet. It takes the death of one of the major characters for the rest to revise their beliefs and learn to tolerate the worldview of others. The character of the young and very cynical journalist who attends the trial to make a scandalous article only emphasizes this point. Everyone else can be stubborn, aggressive or too devoted to their own beliefs, be it science or religion, but they never allow their rivalry to be above their human qualities. We see that in the end almost every of the major characters still alive changed their attitude to the beliefs of the others and at least made an attempt to understand the other side of the barricades. One of Cates’ students who says that she was afraid of thinking before, but now she is ready to try and form her own opinion, shows that everything the characters went through was worth it.

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