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MonkeyNotes-Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
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Act 2, Scene 1

Summary

Two workers are seen assembling a platform on the lawn to accommodate both Brady's press conference and the prayer meeting. One of the workers wonders what to do with the banner that says, "Read Your Bible." The other worker says the banner should be left in place since the Devil does not run the town.

During the press conference, Brady is calm, experienced, and poised. He says the people of Hillsboro are "fighting the fight of the faithful throughout the world." A British reporter asks him his opinion of Henry Drummond. Brady says that he and Drummond were once friends and that Drummond had even supported him in his first run for the presidency. Brady claims, however, that even if it were his brother who was opposing "the faith of millions," he would still fight for the faithful. Hornbeck is among the reporters at Brady's press conference, but unlike the others, he is not taking notes. When Brady finishes speaking, he tells Hornbeck that he is grieved that Hornbeck is so biased in his reporting. Hornbeck tells him he is not a reporter, but a critic.


Reverend Brown approaches with Mrs. Brady. She immediately begins to fuss over her husband's clothing, saying he needs to cover his neck or he will catch cold. Soon Brown begins the prayer meeting. In his sermon, he says he is coming to the people on the "Wings of the Word." The congregation calls back to him, saying they, too, hear the word of God. Brown tells them that the Bible says that the world was created in seven days. He explains that on the first day God made light out of the void. A man sings out that in the first day there were evening and morning. Brown continues with the second day, explaining the creation of the heavens and the earth. The congregation calls out "Amen!" The third day saw the creation of dry land and the plants of the earth. The fourth saw the sun, moon, and stars. On the fifth day, Brown continues, God made fish and birds. Brown then calls out to the congregation that on the sixth day, God was displeased. The people in the congregation ask him why. Brown responds that God wanted special creatures on the earth; therefore, God decided to create people to be masters of the earth. The congregation goes into a sort of frenzy of praise. They call out the question, "Are we good, Lord?" Brown answers, "The Lord said, 'Yea, thou art good!'" The people call out their happiness that God made people to rule the earth.

The audience, already in a high state of excitement, is incited further by Brown's list of questions, called out one after another. He asks, "Do we believe in the Word?" They answer, "Yes!" Then he asks if they curse the man who denies the Word. The people answer in the affirmative again. He asks them to cast the man out and call down hellfire on him. He then begins to pray a curse on Bert Cates, asking God to strike the teacher down. The crowd grows so frenzied that Brady becomes a bit nervous about the high level of emotion.

Rachel, who has been listening to her father, finally calls out to him to stop praying to destroy Cates. Brown is so worked up that he even begins to call down a curse on her, despite the fact that she is his daughter. Brady jumps up and pulls Brown aside, saying that he has gotten carried away in his zeal. He reminds the preacher that it is not right to want to destroy "that which you hope to save--so that nothing is left but emptiness." He also reminds Brown of the Book of Proverbs, which says, "He that troubleth his own house . . . shall inherit the wind." Brady urges Brown to obey the Biblical injunction to forgive one's children.

When Brady sends the crowd away, he notices that Henry Drummond does not depart. He approaches his courtroom opponent and asks him, "Why is it, my old friend, that you have moved so far away from me?" Drummond replies, "All motion is relative. Perhaps it is you who have moved away--by standing still." Brady is obviously affected by these words. He stands open- mouthed for a moment, then steps backward and walks off stage.

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