Inherit the Wind

by: Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee

Rachel Brown

Characters Rachel Brown

Rachel’s romance with Cates runs parallel to her own personal development and highlights the primary conflict in the play—fundamentalism versus freedom of thought. Rachel’s budding emotions pull her away from her father, Reverend Brown, the religious leader of Hillsboro. As Rachel tells more of her story, her father and the form of Christianity practiced in Hillsboro appear more and more cruel and heartless. Rachel relates that her father always frightened her, even from a young age. He publicly confirms her fears at a town prayer meeting, when he damns her soul for supporting Cates. As Rachel’s romantic interest, Cates, who teaches evolution to his students and brings an open mind to matters of science and religion, stands in bold opposition to Rachel’s father and his views. Perhaps most important, Cates refrains from imposing his own views on others and is willing to engage in constant questioning of ideas. Throughout Inherit the Wind, these two characters—Cates and Reverend Brown—test Rachel’s loyalties. At the conclusion of the trial, Rachel separates from her father and departs with Cates—a choice that enables her personal liberation.