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An explosive trial leads the moderately quiet town of Hillsboro to question their faith in Brady and thinking factually. Belief is pitted against evolution, and Brady vehemently believes that religion is the only valid sect of the case. In the play Inherit the Wind written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Brady and the town of Hillsboro continuously shape the inflammatory tone which provides to the author’s intent to demonstrate how conflicted society has become.
Brady is a devoted Christian and politician who passionately challenges the citizens of the town to believe, and only hold belief in what, in his eyes, is right. During a meeting with the mayor of Hillsboro, Brady gives his thoughts on the case with new buddy and attorney, Davenport, by explaining what “a challenge it is” for him to “test the steel of our truth” when against what he refers to as “the blasphemies of science”.
Brady is intentionally using this metaphor to appeal to his fundamentalist allies. Furthermore, the instance in which he dismisses the other side of the trial reveals his urge to provoke an argument to make himself look better. Greeted by enormous applause from the audience, Brady absorbs the praise and makes a statement to his long-time supporters, ”I have come because what has happened in a school-room of your town has unloosed a wicked attack from the big cities of the North!… I am here to defend that which is most precious in the hearts of all of us: the Living Truth of the Scriptures!”. He is pushing his campaign against Bert Cates, the school teacher who taught evolution, by using him as a pawn to cause fear and provoke anger within the town. This highlights the fact that he is turning the town against Cates to hinder any inner conflict the townspeople have. A larger issue occurs when Brady influences the town for the good of his case. Hillsboro begins as a religious and faithful town devoted to God, but changes arise when the town’s faith is tested. When Brady arrives, crowds gather to sing songs and greet him with applause. They start chants and scream his name to voice their support of his arrival in town to aid the case against Cates. Hillsboro is already in agreement with Brady before the trial has even started. This shows how loud the one-sided citizens opinions are. But as the story progresses and Cate’s famous lawyer Drummond uncovers Brady’s true facade, the people angrily boo Brady and few clap when he wins the case. The town leaves Brady with little to no support as the trial ends. The people are furious when Brady wins because they now think believe him to be a fraud. Their reactions prove how quick one testimony takes them to switch from one side to the other.
The authors intended to show just how fluctuating the public’s opinion is and what it becomes over long amounts of anger. Each character, in their own way, presents a large amount of anger and hostility towards someone or something. Neither one fully gets rid of their irritation but uses it as a voice for either faith or evolution. Though the conflict lies in Hillsboro as it switches from being disgusted by science over faith to rather accepting of the opposite side it originally opposed. It takes a whole case and then some for a town of people and Brady himself to wrap up this issue. They are blinded by their religious faith and because of this, succeed in dragging out an undeniably memorable and problematic case.
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