In a society with many different opinions and viewpoints, it is very important for everyone to have tolerance of each other, and each other's ideas and beliefs. The importance of this is shown in the play Inherit The Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee through three unique characters. Henry Drummond, the judge, and Matthew Brady, are all clear and well defined examples of how and why tolerance is important in a just society.
Henry Drummond is a fine example of tolerance and its importance. He attempts to convince the jury and court that every man is allowed to think. They have their own beliefs and are very resistant to believing that anyone else can have a different point of view. He uses the example "Do you think a sponge thinks?" (pg 83) to show the jury that if a sponge is allowed to think, then humans are allowed the same privilege, including someone with opposing beliefs. He is also a good example of practical tolerance. When the judge denies him the right to bring leading scientists to the witness stand, his plan for defending the man on trial is destroyed. He expresses some displeasure at having his neat plans foiled, but he does not protest angrily or make a disparaging fuss. He tolerates the court's decision and tries to make the best of it. Henry is also a good example of animosity tolerance. He is in court against a man who is set to beat him, and who seems to be at the very least "competitive". The man Henry is up against, Matthew Brady, is obviously not a friend, doesn't share the beliefs or morals of Henry, and is not about to accept Henry's points of view, or admit that he himself is wrong. When Brady tries to use his charismatic influence to sway the court, Drummond tolerates it well enough that he doesn't get mad or make a fuss. These examples are very important to show that without tolerance, you probably wouldn't get as far in your endeavours. If Henry hadn't been tolerant, he would have done poorly in court, because he would have been mad at the judicial decisions. He could also have been deemed unprofessional (if he made a fuss instead of sitting quiet and tolerating) and ejected from court. He is a great example of direct tolerance.
The judge is also a very important example of tolerance (or rather, lack thereof). The judge doesn't tolerate Henry Drummond's witnesses in court. He doesn't seem to tolerate the scientific viewpoints that Henry thinks are important. Through his intolerance, the judge shows us the importance of tolerance for the sake of being just. In a court case that is revolving around a scientific point of view against a religious one, the judge only allows witnesses from the religious point of view to testify. He doesn't tolerate the scientists that Henry had planned to use as his defence. The playwrights use this to convey the injustice of intolerance to the audience.
Probably the best example of intolerance in this play is Matthew Brady. Brady is used as an example of complete intolerance of other people's ideas. The playwrights use him to show the audience how absurd intolerance to new ideas is. Even after his beliefs are put into question, and the certainness in his beliefs is disrupted, he is still so intolerant to new ideas that he maintains his denial of possible other beliefs. Against all common sense and evidence, he still maintains his original opinion, not even opening himself to new ideas. This stubbornness and extreme intolerance is a great way for the playwrights to show the ridiculousness of being that intolerant; and through that, the importance of being tolerant.
Throughout this play, examples are given to teach the audience the importance of being tolerant. It is a very important skill to learn, and to practice. Without it, we would not enjoy a just society. It would be society ruled by one person's beliefs, and governed by what they deemed "acceptable" or "appropriate". It would take away so much freedom, to be constrained to one viewpoint. All in all, the playwrights have done their job very effectively in passing on an invaluable lesson to the audience. A job, very well done!