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Inherit the Wind | Study Guide

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

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Inherit the Wind | Quotes


Living comes from a long miracle, it didn't just happen in seven days.

Bertram Cates, Act 1, Scene 1

Bertram Cates explains to Rachel Brown that his support of Darwin does not negate belief in the Bible. He is suggesting that the two could be compatible, and that Darwin's theory might actually be the miracle of Creation described in the Bible.


Heavenly Hillsboro. The buckle on the Bible Belt.

E.K. Hornbeck, Act 1, Scene 1

The "Bible Belt" refers to areas of the southern and Midwestern United States where Protestant fundamentalism is widely practiced. By calling Hillsboro the "buckle" on that belt, Hornbeck is saying it epitomizes that group of people and their belief system.


What a challenge it is ... to test the steel of our Truth against the blasphemies of Science!

Matthew Harrison Brady, Act 1, Scene 1

Brady uses a powerful metaphor—Truth as a sword and Science as a sinner—to appeal to his fundamentalist supporters.


When you lose your power to laugh, you lose your power to think straight.

Henry Drummond, Act 1, Scene 2

Drummond explains to Rachel Brown that only by seeing the absurdity of a situation can a person retain the ability to keep it in perspective.


He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.

Matthew Harrison Brady, Act 2, Scene 1

Brady calms the Reverend Brown with this biblical verse after the man attacks his own daughter. He cautions Brown that "it is possible to be overzealous, to destroy that which you hope to save."


Perhaps it is you who have moved away—by standing still.

Henry Drummond, Act 2, Scene 1

Brady wonders aloud to Drummond why Drummond has moved so far away from him, both ideologically and personally. Drummond suggests that it is Brady who has caused the rift by remaining entrenched in old traditions and beliefs rather than entertaining more progressive ways of thinking.


I am trying to establish ... that ... anyone in this courtroom ... has the right to think!

Henry Drummond, Act 2, Scene 2

This is the cornerstone of Drummond's argument and his mission for being in Hillsboro. He is not just defending Cates. He is attacking an unjust law that prevents new ideas from being examined and championed.


"Right" has no meaning to me whatsoever! ... Truth has meaning—as a direction.

Henry Drummond, Act 2, Scene 2

Drummond argues that there can be no absolutes. He believes that right and wrong are artificial constructs created by people, and that we should instead be guided by the truth—though even truth is open to interpretation.


An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral.

Henry Drummond, Act 2, Scene 2

Drummond encapsulates his belief that the holiest thing of all is a person's ability to think, and that a new idea is a monument to that miracle.


Gentlemen, progress has never been a bargain.

Henry Drummond, Act 2, Scene 2

Drummond helps the jury grasp that progress has always come at a price. However, the pain and inconveniences we must endure as a result are well worth the benefits of moving forward.


The Bible is a book. A good book. But it's not the only book.

Henry Drummond, Act 2, Scene 2

Drummond simultaneously acknowledges the value of the Bible while stressing that there are other, perhaps equally worthwhile, books and ideas worth considering.


When they started this fire here, they never figured it would light up the whole sky.

Henry Drummond, Act 3

Drummond explains to Cates that "this fire," his case, represents something much larger than his accusers realized. It represents the right of people to champion new and unpopular ideas. As such it has captured the attention of the entire country.


I was always afraid of what I might think—so it seemed safer not to think at all.

Rachel Brown, Act 3

Rachel's statement highlights the danger of narrow-minded communities. If people are afraid of the repercussions that might come from presenting new ideas, they may stop thinking at all.


Show me a shouter, / And I'll show you an also-ran.

E.K. Hornbeck, Act 3

This is one of Hornbeck's final insults to Brady. He is saying that the harder someone tries to capture the attention of others, the more likely it is that the person is already a failure.


There was much greatness in this man.

Henry Drummond, Act 3

Drummond shows his own compassion and empathy by recognizing that no matter what Brady had become, he once had the character, passion, and beliefs of a truly great man.

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