Inherit The Wind: The Scopes Trial

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“This man wishes to be accorded the same privilege as a sponge! He wishes to think!” (Lawrence & Lee, 1955, p. 94). This quote from Inherit the Wind represents the heart of the controversy known as the Scopes Trial in 1925. This historical court proceeding still affects us today, yet few know much about it. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee helps to remedy this. Inherit the Wind is a fictional drama, but it is clearly based on the Scopes Trial. Thus, this play can help the reader not only understand what was going on when the actual case was debated ninety-one years ago, but also what the implications of it are today. The authors of Inherit the Wind transformed the historical account of the Scopes Trial into a work of fiction by changing the setting, genre, and language usage. The setting of the Scopes Trial and Inherit the Wind have both …show more content…

Bryan, Darrow, and Judge Raulston, among others, all use a plethora of terms that only people in their profession would employ. Many examples of this technical language are sprinkled throughout the trial transcript, such as, “Both the state and federal governments maintain courts, that those who cannot agree may have their difference properly adjudicated.” (“Tennessee vs. John Scopes,” 1925). A limited amount of this technical language is also used in Inherit the Wind, but the characters in the play also use figurative language that the participants in the Scopes Trial would not have occasion to use. In the dialogue of Inherit the Wind, one can find similes, metaphors, and verbal irony, such as in Act I when a character sarcastically remarks, “How flattering to know I’m being clipped,” (Lawrence & Lee, 1955, p. 25). Because the Scopes Trial is an actual court case, the language used is very business-like and formal. This alteration of language use is yet another change that the authors made in creating their

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