Matthew Harrison Brady The prosecuting attorney. He is a talented orator and an experienced politician. He is a defender of fundamentalism and a self-proclaimed expert on the Bible. He is pompous and self-righteous and is reduced to a tragic figure and ultimately dies after Drummond questions him on the witness stand.
Henry Drummond The defense attorney engaged by the Baltimore Herald for Cates. Drummond is sophisticated, charming, and idealistic. When he defends Cates, he is defending the freedom of thought and "the right to be wrong."
E.K. Hornbeck A newspaper columnist for the Baltimore Herald who is sent to Hillsboro to cover Cates' trial. Throughout the trial, he mocks Brady and his fundamentalist beliefs and the people of Hillsboro for their ignorant views about evolution.
Bertram Cates The defendant in the trial, a quiet, modest 24-year-old science teacher who has been arrested for teaching evolution to his sophomore science class.
Reverend Jeremiah Brown A fundamentalist preacher. As the spiritual leader of Hillsboro, he zealously believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible and is cruel and controlling.
Rachel Brown A 22-year-old second-grade schoolteacher who is the daughter of Reverend Jeremiah Brown and a close friend of Cates. Rachel experiences personal growth through the course of the play.
Judge The judge in Cates' trial. He tries to remain impartial in spite of his religious beliefs.
Mrs. Brady Brady's wife. She mothers her husband, watching over his health and diet.
Meeker The bailiff at the Hillsboro courthouse for many years. He is nonjudgmental and kind to Cates.
Melinda Loomis A 12-year -old girl. Upon seeing Drummond, she screams that he's the devil.
Howard Blair A student in Cates' science class. He testifies against Cates.
Mr. Goodfellow The owner of a general store near the courthouse. He is more interested in running his business than in the arrival of Brady or the upcoming trial.
Mrs. Krebs A member of the Hillsboro community. She plans a community picnic for the celebration of Brady's arrival and voices her opinions in the courtroom during the trial.
Corkin A local man who helps put up the banner that says, "Read Your Bible."
BollingerCooper, Platt Local men who await Brady's train.
Mr. Bannister A local man who is selected to be a member of the jury.
Mrs. McClain A local woman who sells frond fans to people in the crowd awaiting the arrival of Brady's train.
Mrs. Loomis Melinda's mother.
Hawker A local man who sells hot dogs to the crowd awaiting Brady's arrival.
Mrs. Blair Howard's mother. She is a member of the Bible League and marches in the parade when Brady arrives.
Elijah A hermit. He sells Bibles and voices his religious beliefs to the crowd of people awaiting Brady's train. He tries to sell a Bible to Hornbeck.
Hurdy Gurdy Man An organ grinder, accompanied by his monkey, who waits with the crowd of people for Brady's arrival.
Timmy A young boy who excitedly announces to the crowd of people that Brady's train is coming.
Mayor The mayor of Hillsboro. He gives a speech welcoming Brady and bestows upon him the title of Honorary Colonel in the State Militia.
Photographer The photographerwho takes pictures of Brady, the Mayor, and Reverend Brown during the welcoming ceremony.
Tom Davenport District Attorney who assists Brady during the trial.
Jesse H. Dunlap A farmer and cabinetmaker who is interviewed but rejected for jury duty.
George Sillers A man on the jury.
Reuter's Man A reporter from Reuters News Agency.
Harry Y. Esterbrook A radioman from WGN a radio station in Chicago.