As the play’s title indicates, the wind is a central symbol of Lawrence and Lee’s work. The line from Proverbs, quoted by Brady
and then, after Brady’s death, by Drummond
, goes as follows: “He that troubleth his own house . . . shall inherit the wind.” The phrase may be interpreted a number of ways, but one seems clear: if a man sows discord among those that he loves, and among those that love him, he will soon learn that physical nearness, and kinship, will desert him—that only “the wind,” or the idea of those relationships, will remain to him. Reverend Brown
preaches not God’s love but God’s hate, and his daughter Rachel
leaves town to be with Cates
, at the play’s end. Brady, though he tries to love his fellow man, falls prey to his own sense of personal vanity, and watches as his loving crowds dwindle to only a small group, then to no one at all, as the trial comes to a close. Drummond also senses the “winds” of change that sweep through the court during the trial—the people of Hillsboro, and of America, come to realize that a compromise between religious belief and scientific fact is not just possible—it is the bedrock of an open-minded society, one that is inclusive of different opinions, and one that champions a person’s right to think for himself or herself.