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MonkeyNotes-Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
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Matthew Harrison Brady

Matthew Harrison Brady is Drummond's antagonist. Lawrence and Lee draw him as a caricature in his extremes. Although he has been a populist candidate for the presidency and is well-known as a politician, he is depicted as a despicable and ridiculous character. Vain and arrogant, he is constantly concerned with his appearance, always patting his hair and brushing off his clothing. When he is being photographed, he demands to have a second picture taken because in the first one he was not wearing his jacket. On the last day of the trial, he is concerned about being properly heard on the radio, which is being broadcast live from the courtroom.

Beneath the proper exterior, there is a different man inside of Brady. He is a voracious eater, suggesting that he will seize everything in life that he wants. It is obvious that he is a manipulator of innocent people, as seen when he uses Rachel Brown and Howard for his own ends, disregarding their thoughts and feelings. He is also a master politician. His eloquent speeches are filled with no meaning but successfully stir the people to his causes. He is also a man used to getting his way and will trample those who stand between him and what he wants. As a result, it is clear that his populist beliefs are hypocritical, especially since he believes that everyone should think just like him and agree with his every idea.


The one moment in which Brady shows some nobility of spirit occurs during the prayer meeting. When Reverend Brown has whipped the audience into a frenzy of hatred, calling down the curses of God upon Cates and even his daughter, Brady steps in and stops him, even reciting the Biblical injunction to be peaceful within one's family. In giving Brady the most important lines of the play, the lines from which the title comes, Lawrence and Lee indicate that somewhere in this man, there is some good, even though he has been degraded by political motives and arrogance.

In the end Brady undoes himself. Filled with arrogance and self- confidence, he willingly takes the witness stand to be questioned by Drummond. His irrational answers reveal him to be a fool. When the crowd turns against him, he is destroyed and must be comforted by his wife, whom he calls "Mother." He allows her to hold in her arms and rock him like a baby, while telling him that everything will be all right. But things are not all right for Brady. Once he is exposed for who he is, he cannot go on. While giving a speech that no one will listen to, he has a stroke. When he is carried out of the courtroom, he is reciting the inaugural speech he was never able to give. Shortly afterward, he passes away.

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