Study Guide

Inherit the Wind Competition

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

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In Inherit the Wind, we see one big fancy lawyer duke it out with another big fancy lawyer. As you might imagine, things get a little competitive. So while this play is about who's right and who's wrong (i.e., who's an ideological extremist and who's a rational truth-seeker), it's also about who's the better contender. Both Drummond and Brady use all of the tools available to them in order to prove their points, because they know that their win (or loss) will have effects that reach far beyond the little town of Hillsboro. Yet, when all is said and done, Drummond shows compassion for Brady; we think this play's telling us that competition can bring out the worst in people. Kind of like on Survivor.

Questions About Competition

  1. The big competition in the play is between Brady and Drummond; what other competitions do you observe, and what do they contribute to the overall themes of the play?
  2. Who do you think won the trial in Inherit the Wind, really, and why?
  3. What do you think the playwrights are trying to teach us about competition in this play? Is competition a necessary part of the judicial system? Why or why not?

Chew on This

The competition in Inherit the Wind shows how neither side wins in an ideological, no-holds-barred battle.

The competition between Drummond and Brady is about more than just whether or not evolution should be taught in schools; it's personal. And when people bring the personal into their professional lives, they can never see the truth totally clearly.

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