There are currently two versions of Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Both the original and revised versions contain closing remarks by Atticus Finch that follow very closely to the novel, but there are changes made to increase the dramatic tension during the scene. For example, in the original text of the book, Atticus says,
And so a quiet, respectable, humble Negro who had the unmitigated temerity to ‘feel sorry’ for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people’s. I need not remind you of their appearance and conduct on the stand - you saw them for yourselves. (Chapter 20 of the novel)
This part in his closing statement is similar to the play, but I will highlight some of the differences to show how the playwright has adapted it,
So a quiet, respectable Negro man who had the unmitigated temerity to feel sorry for a white woman is on trial for his life. He’s had to put his word against his two white accusers. I need not remind you of their conduct here in court - their cynical confidence… (Page 81 of play adaptation [bolded text is my emphasis])
Along with adding drama to the scene in the play by using statements like “is on trial for his life,” the play’s adaptation of the novel is changed to make the dialogue more natural to speak—using fewer words and dividing longer sentences—while still keeping the general message and ideas the same.
The original novel does mention Albert Einstein during the closing remarks of Atticus Finch: “...there is one human institution that makes the pauper equal to the Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein…” (Chapter 20). Those two remarks are also found in the Sergel adaptation.
The words themselves are meant to explore the idea that the court, alone of all other institutions and systems, can make men equal. Equality under the law is the only hope men have of being equal in a world that dictates their inequality by natural talent and social discrimination. Sergel utilized the same saying from the book to drive home the message of Atticus Finch in the play.