In the movie "Inherit the Wind" what is the punishment the judge gives to the jury?

2 Answers

ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I have just re-viewed this movie twice online.  In the movie "Inherit the Wind," the jury is not punished, unless you consider making them sit in a court room where the temperatures are in the 90's and they are wearing suits.  He eventually allows the men to remove their suit coats.

The judge does however hold Drummond in contempt of court and charges him with 4000.00 bail and remands him to jail overnight.  E. K. Hornbeck, the reporter from Baltimore’s Herald says that the paper will post the bond but the judge won't accept his word.  One of the townspeople, offers to put up the deed to his farm but the judge tells him the bail must be cash.  Finally the town's banker stands and says that he will front Drummond's bail.  Cates is eventually found guilty and the judge fines him only 100.00.  The only other instance which might be considered a "punishment" would be when the judge refuses Drummond the right to call his witnesses for the defense.  This denies the jury the opportunity to hear both sides of the case and the guilty verdict is rendered in the atmosphere of ignorance and bigotry.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I am not certain that there is a punishment that the judge gives the jury a punishment.  The jury does return a verdict of "Not Guilty" and fines Cates 100 dollars, which Drummond demands will not be paid, suggesting that he will go to the Supreme Court, if necessary to plead his case.  However, there are several examples of judgments that turn into punishments at the end of the play.  Matthew Brady receives the harshest of these judgments when he and his views become discredited.  The testament to this is when he tries to read his remarks into the record after the trial and is discarded by the public.  He dies of a heart attack at that moment, proving that fame and sensationalism can take its toll on even the most pious.  Southern and/ or Religious Fundamentalist society received a judgment as a result of the trial, in so far as their value system was questioned, if not somewhat repudiated, by the result of the trial.  Finally, the modernist movement that gripped America of the 1920's seemed to receive a judgment/ punishment.  During America of this time period, mass consumerism and modern faith in progress was at its zenith.  The trial brought this into question, in so far as no absolute and defining answers were given.  As indicated by Drummond at the end of the play, when he holds both the Bible and Darwin's work together, unable to determine if there is a definable answer in the choice between both.  When the play comes to a close, we are left suspended in being able to determine "who was right."  For all of its faith in modernism, mass consumerism, and celebrity, the Jazz Age could provide no definite answers, proving to be quite a punishment as America closes the decade and enters the Great Depression of the 1930s.