Inherit the Wind
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme
Drummond and Brady are out for blood throughout Inherit the Wind, but when it really comes down to it, these ex-friends have soft spots for each other. In fact, Drummond is such a softie that Hornbeck really ribs him after Brady dies because Drummond refuses to laugh at his old buddy. Even after everything that's happened, he's got respect for the guy. So this play shows us that hardheadedness and an unforgiving nature only lead to further conflict, not a solution. It's only through compassion that we can open ourselves to opposing viewpoints, thereby deepening our understanding for others while also lessening our enmity for them. And don't you want to be all noble and stuff, Shmoopers? Do unto others, as they say…
Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness
- Which character seems to most clearly exemplify compassion and forgiveness to you?
- Do you agree with Hornbeck's or Drummond's philosophy of forgiveness (or, um, lack thereof)?
- Is there anyone in Inherit the Wind that you are unable to feel compassion for? If so, why can't you feel compassion for that character or those characters?
Chew on This
The play demonstrates that the only way to make a change in society is to have compassion for your opponent.
The play shows that the only way to make a change in society is to be unforgiving, because your opponent will not have compassion for you. So you've got to go for the jugular, kiddos.