Certain criminal proceedings have had an enormous impact in the ideal American character. One example was the 1925 Monkey Scopes Trial in which John Scopes was being prosecuted for teaching Evolution. In a similar vein the speeches led by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the trials known as the “Red Scare” enraged many American authors and producers, leading these individuals to spread their own ideas and to defend civil rights. Two playwrights who lived through the “Red Scare” trials, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, addresses the oppression of the McCarthy trials by a meek character called Bert Cates throughout their play named Inherit the Wind. A nationally recognized lawyer, Henry Drummond, uses his gift of freedom of speech to support Cates. Cates love interest, Rachel Brown, grows intellectually and portrays the change that Lawrence and Lee want to see in Americans. Furthermore, Brady comes to prosecute Cates for teaching Evolution throughout the schools in Tennessee. In this allegorical play Lawrence and Lee’s use of symbolic characters challenges the status quo and inspires American intellectual growth.
Through Rachel, who represents a naïve American who is insecure by making her own choices, Lawrence and Lee argue that Americans can be open to new perspectives and empower themselves with confidence. Rachel starts employing stress on herself when she is conflicted by Bert’s and her father’s thoughts on evolution before the trial. Furthermore, Rachel describes her conflicted way of thinking, “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty” (1.1.34). Rachel is called “sleeping beauty” because she is told to think for herself. Unfortunately, she is torn by her clashing thoughts between Cates and her father. She has to decide whether to support Cates or obey her father’s commands by supporting him. Rachel’s conflicted thinking makes her ill and stressful. Later in the story, Rachel describes the reasons for her oppressed way of thinking. Rachel talks to Cates and Drummond about why she should but does not want to support her father. Furthermore, Rachel claims that her father does not give her a sense of peace.
“I remember feelings this way as a little girl. I would wake up at the night, terrified of the dark. [...] I wanted to run to my father, and have him tell me I was safe, that everything was all right. But I was always more frightened of him than I was of falling. It’s the same way now” (1.2.55).
When Rachel was a young girl, she felt self-conscious of herself. She feels insecure in this part of the play because she is having a flashback of her childhood. Her childhood was dark because her own father did not care about her, her father just left her alone when Rachel was scared. This fear made Rachel unable to move forward because she thinks that no one will support her if she supports her father or supports Cates. Her thoughts could not be displaced yet because Rachel is still entrapped in her own flashback of darkness. Surprisingly, Rachel learns to make her...