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Inherit the Wind

Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee

Act One, Scene II

Act One, Scene I

Act One, Scene II, page 2

page 1 of 3


Several days later, the prosecution (Brady and Davenport) and the defense (Drummond) interview townspeople to serve as members of the jury. The scene opens during of the prosecution’s questioning of a local man, Bannister. Davenport asks Bannister whether he attends church. Bannister answers, “Only on Sundays,” and Davenport approves him as a juror. Drummond asks Bannister whether he has read about evolution or Darwin, and whether he reads the Bible. Bannister says he is illiterate, and Drummond approves him as a juror.

Before the bailiff calls the next juror, Brady asks the judge if the people in the courtroom may remove their coats because of the heat. The judge agrees. When people remove their coats, Drummond’s bright purple suspenders are revealed, prompting hoots from the crowd. Brady asks Drummond if his suspenders reflect the latest fashions in Chicago. To Brady’s embarrassment, Drummond replies that he bought the suspenders in Brady’s Nebraska hometown.

The judge pounds his gavel and demands order. A man named Dunlap is next to be interviewed. Davenport asks Dunlap whether he believes in the Bible. Dunlap replies that he believes in the word of God and in Brady. The audience cheers Dunlap, and Davenport accepts him as a juror. Drummond, however, refuses Dunlap without questioning him. Brady objects. Drummond replies that he wouldn’t object to Brady dismissing an evolutionist as a juror. To go through the formality of questioning Dunlap, Drummond asks him, “How are you?” Dunlap replies “Kinda hot,” and Drummond again dismisses him.

Brady objects to Drummond’s levity. Although the judge doesn’t sustain Brady’s objection, he admits to agreeing with him. The judge addresses Brady as “Colonel Brady,” which prompts Drummond to object to Brady’s title on the grounds that he doesn’t know much about Brady’s record as a soldier. The judge explains that Brady received the title as an honor. Drummond claims that Brady’s title harms Cates’s case. The judge gestures to the mayor, who says that he can’t take back Brady’s honorary title but says he will temporarily grant Drummond the title of colonel as well.

The judge calls the court to order. A man named Sillers is next to be interviewed. Davenport asks Sillers whether he is religious, and Sillers claims to be as religious as anyone else in Hillsboro. Brady steps up and asks Sillers whether he has any children. Sillers replies that he does not. Brady outlines a hypothetical situation in which Sillers’s child came home describing a “Godless teacher.” Drummond objects, and the judge sustains the objection. Brady asks Sillers whether he has any opinions that might prejudice him in the case. Sillers says he knows Cates only as a customer, not personally. Brady accepts Sillers as a juror.

Drummond asks Sillers whether he puts much effort into religion. Sillers says he focuses on his job while his wife tends to religious matters for both of them. Drummond recasts Sillers’s response by suggesting that he takes care of the matters of life on earth while his wife prepares both of them for the afterlife. Davenport objects, and the judge sustains the objection. Drummond asks Sillers whether he has ever encountered a man named Charles Darwin. Sillers says he only lately heard of Darwin. Drummond asks Sillers whether he would have Darwin over for dinner. Brady begins to object, but Drummond cuts him off. Davenport also objects, but Drummond says he is trying to confirm that Sillers puts equally small effort into matters of religion and evolution. Sillers points out that he merely works at the feed store. Drummond approves him as a juror.

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