Literary Essay Sample: Humanist Nature of Drummond Character

Published: 2022-04-25 08:10:54
Literary Essay Sample: Humanist Nature of Drummond Character
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Theatre Character analysis
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1150 words
10 min read
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Inherit the Wind is a fictional play by Lawrence and Lee based on the Scopes Monkey trial. The piece has its two main characters as Brady and Drummond who represent the two conflicting sides. While Brady symbolizes the fundamentalist standpoint, Drummond advocates freedom of thought and science. The battle between these two renowned attorneys in the courtroom forms the focus of Lawrence and Lee's play. By carrying out a character analysis of the two main characters in the play, the humanist nature of the two can be compared. As such the following paper will argue that Drummond is more of a humanist than Brady because of the differences in their character, beliefs, and way of thinking. Some of the main reasons behind Drummond's humanist character that distinguish him from Brady include his belief in the human right to think freely; emphasis on the value and significance of everybody's ability to think, generate ideas and express them; and advocating the truth.

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Starting with the belief in the human right to think freely, Drummond demonstrates that he is more of a humanist than Brady. In the play, Cates is detained after being accused of breaking the Butler Law that outlaws the teaching of evolutionary theory in public schools (Jerome and Lee 12). Thus, the content that should be taught in classrooms is well censored which suggests the presence of a restricted right to think. Drummond is unwavering about the right to think which everyone is entitled to. This is evident in the response that he gives to Brady when he is accused of destroying the people's belief in God and the Bible. Drummond replies by stating that he is making an attempt to bring the control of education in the United States to an end (Jerome and Lee 17). Drummond's belief in the freedom of free thought, which makes him more of a humanist, as well as his tolerance for contradictory beliefs, is further demonstrated at the play's conclusion where Hornbeck continues denouncing Brady even after his passing away. Drummond ardently tells Hornbeck that he does not have the right to talk ill of the dead man's religion just as it would be wrong for him to condemn Drummond's religion or his lack of it. Drummond adds that just like Cates, Brady had the right to be wrong (Jerome and Lee 23). On the contrary, unlike Drummond who champions the human right to think independently, Brady is opposed to the idea and leads the campaign against the teaching of Darwin's evolution theory in public schools (Jerome and Lee 15). Brady is depicted as an individual who has a great interest in his popularity and fails to think about his position in the changing American society.

Further, Drummond is more of a humanist because of his emphasis on the value and significance of everybody's ability to think, have ideas as well as express them. Through this character, Lawrence and Lee have been able to show that thinking and having ideas are processes that keep people moving. For this reason, Drummond's compares an idea to a cathedral in terms of size (Jerome and Lee 45). From this, it can be argued that the two playwrights acknowledge the significance and value of independent thinking as stressed by Drummond. There is the need to have people shaken up and confronted with new ideas, information and knowledge to make them think autonomously rather than conforming to the majority's opinion. This is revealed by Drummond in the courtroom when he explains that he is making efforts to stop the fundamentalists from "dumping a load of medieval nonsense [the Butler Law] into the United States Constitution" (Jerome and Lee 71). This is a key feature that makes Drummond more of a humanist as he stands up and carries on with his fight against laws promoting censorship, suppression as well as unthinking conformity. This is illustrated by the instance in which he informs Cates that the fight for freedom has no end (Jerome and Lee 90). In contrast, Brady is depicted as a self-centered individual who likes seeking attention from people. This is demonstrated by the fact that he ran for presidency many times despite repeatedly losing to his opponents since he could not stand having another person win (Jerome and Lee 104). To Brady, individual fame was key in life.

Another key feature that makes Drummond more of a humanist compared to Brady is the fact that he is an advocate of the truth. Defending Cates in court is a key symbol of Drummond's commitment to search for the Truth. In the courtroom, Drummond states that in his view, "wrong" and "right" are meaningless and that only Truth is valuable (Jerome and Lee 122). At this point, the authors express their reverence towards differing viewpoints by maintaining that neither fundamentalism nor evolutionism is wrong or right (Jerome and Lee 130). Drummond is also used to depict this fact as the play comes to a conclusion whereby he leaves with both a copy of the origin of species by Darwin and a Bible in his briefcase. Drummond's search for Truth if further depicted in the play when he asks Cates to have a look at the paint's behind and if it is a lie, to expose the reality (Jerome and Lee 136). This can be interpreted to refer to the contentious Butler Law and the need to state what it really stands for. By following Drummond's recommendation, people should be attentive to the happenings around them in order to guard their freedoms and rights by thinking, developing ideas, expressing them appropriately an most importantly searching for Truth, hence Drummond's Humanist nature. On the other hand, Brady's focus is not on Truth but rather on having his portrait pasted on another newsstand (Jerome and Lee 142).

In conclusion, as demonstrated herein, Drummond is more of a humanist than Brady because of the character differences that exist between the two. Some of the reasons that make Drummond more of a humanist compared to Brady include his belief in the human right to think freely; emphasis on the value of everybody's ability to think, devise ideas and express them; and advocating the truth. This is in contrast to Brady who is portrayed as a self-centered man who has little to do with freedom of independent thought and does little to seek the truth. This converts him to a tragic character who suffers from his own naivety. Unlike Brady, Drummond has the interests of the American society in his mind as he fights against laws promoting censorship, suppression as well as unthinking conformity. He also emphasizes the significance of Truth. Based on these arguments, it can be stated that Drummond is more of a humanist than Brady.

Work Cited

Lawrence, Jerome and Robert Lee. Inherit the Wind: The Powerful Drama of the Greatest Courtroom Clash of the Century. Hillsboro: Bantam Books, 2003. Print.

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