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Inherit the Wind: Henry Drummond Essay

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The authors, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s, main purpose through Inherit the Wind is proving that humans hold the right to think. Henry Drummond is vital in this discovery because of his firm belief that one should hold this right. Drummond’s hero archetype is the cause for his strong feelings, and he succeeds when convincing the audience of his beliefs by revealing the contradictions underlying his witnesses’ inherited religious beliefs. Henry Drummond arrives in Hillsboro as an atheist, and leaves as a hero. The townspeople’s initial reaction to the news that Drummond is defending Cates, alerts the audience. This is most apparent when Melinda, a young girl, first sees him and screams “It’s the Devil!” (Lawrence and Lee ). Drummond does not let the citizen’s misconstrued interpretation of him distract him from his goal, to take a stand. Drummond uses the case as an opportunity to fight for the right to think and develop one’s own truths.

Slowly the townspeople start to see through Brady and start to see the true Drummond. The Drummond who is committed to defending Cates and respects Cates for “standing up when everybody else is sitting down.”(Lawrence and Lee ). Brady and Drummond are alike in multiple ways such as their mutual respect for each other as well as their past together, but there are also very significant differences between them, such as their character. Drummond’s reason to defend Cates is to share a message throughout the world as well as protect an innocent man. Meanwhile Brady’s purpose is to gain popularity throughout the world, and only to help himself. Brady’s lack of dedication towards this case results in his downfall. In Act III of the play, the readers see Drummond’s quick mind, his ability to function under pressure, and his creativity. When the judge refuses all of Drummond’s witnesses he switches tactics and decides to call Brady to the stand as an “expert” on the bible.

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Drummond’s character serves as a foil for Brady’s character, Drummond’s patient demeanor and open-minded, progressive way of thinking accentuates Brady’s narrow-minded way of thinking which causes the audiences support in his direction and opens their eyes to truth. The point where the Drummond’s point is finally made is when he stumps Brady. Drummond’s cross-examination of Brady causes humiliation and hysteria. Brady self-destructs when his convictions about the literal truth of the Bible are questioned and proved false due to Drummond. Drummond’s attack of Brady is not mean-spirited, it is devastating. At the same time, the power of Drummond’s attack stems not so much from Drummond’s wit as from the weight of Brady’s egotism, stubbornness, and arrogance.

Basically if Brady was not so cocky and arrogant he might have been able to prevent the case going the way it did. Although the trial in Inherit the Wind concerns the battle between creationism and evolutionism, a deeper conflict exists beneath the surface. Drummond points to this more basic issue when he asks his young witness Howard whether he believes in Darwin. When the boy responds that he hasn’t made up his mind, Drummond insists that the boy’s freedom to think—to make up his own mind—is what is actually on trial. This point in the book is where Drummond’s point becomes obvious; freedom of thought becomes the freedom to be wrong or to change one’s mind.

Even though Cates is found guilty, Drummond wins a moral victory. He reveals his integrity when he defends freedom of thought, even for those he disagrees with. When Hornbeck criticizes Brady and Brady’s fundamentalist beliefs, Drummond tells Hornbeck that ” . . . Brady had the same right as Cates: the right to be wrong” (Lawrence and Lee )! Drummond’s hero archetype and his initial analysis of Brady are the cause of his success with the people of Hillsboro. At the end of the play, Drummond feels the same way and is still fighting for people’s “right to be wrong” (Lawrence and Lee ).

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