Susan Glaspell highlights the settings as theatrical metaphors for male dominated society in the early 20th century. “Trifles” begins with an investigation into the murder of Mr. Wright. The crime scene is taken at his farmhouse where clues are found that reveals Minnie Wright to be a suspect of murder. In the beginning of the play, it clearly embodies the problems of subordination of women. For example, there are two main characters in this play—Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, who are brought along with the sheriff and attorney to find evidence for Mr. Wright’s murder. The men gather and work together at the stove and they talk with each other in familiarity while women “stand close together near the door behind men” (Glaspell 444). Perhaps the location of the women standing behind the men near the door reflects also their secondary or inferior social standing in the eyes of the men. Moreover, it seems that the wo...
In the 1960’s women roles were changing they were getting more involved in the American society. While working as a journalist Susan Glaspell reported a case of a murder which influenced her to write the play Trifles. In the play, Trifles the women are being presented as weak and powerless, a murder has been committed by Minnie Wright. There are a total of five characters in the play, three of them are men and the other two are females. The males are the county attorney, sheriff, and a neighbor farmer. The women are Mrs. Peter and Mrs. Hale. The men are searching for clues to convict Minnie of the crime, while the women find the most important pieces to the crime. In the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, the author demonstrates feminist stereotypes, representations of genders during the era when women had less power.
Trifles is a play by Susan Glaspell taking place in and around a farmhouse in 1916. The owner of the farmhouse, Mr. Wright, is found dead when his neighbor Mr. Hale makes an unannounced visit early one frigid morning. As he lets himself into the farmhouse he finds Mrs. Wright sitting in a rocking chair in the disarrayed kitchen. Eventually, she tells him that her husband is upstairs dead with a rope around his neck. While Mrs. Wright is in custody an investigation is taking place at the farmhouse and those in attendance include; George Henderson, the county attorney; Mr. Hale; Mrs. Hale; Henry Peters, the sheriff; and Mrs. Peters. While searching for a motive at the farmhouse the men were distracted because during that time period women were cast into low positions in society leading the men to mock the women in this play written by Susan Glaspell whom is known to produce work with strong feminist concepts.
“Trifles” is a play in which Susan Glaspell manages to masterfully incorporate numerous amounts of drama; and at the same time, spin a story of murder, justice, and male superiority all into one. Glaspell writes of a woman who murdered her husband because he was to blame for her cold and lonely life. The women character's in the play, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, solve the murder, while the men, the county attorney and sheriff, try to solve the murder their own way. From the moment the three male characters, George Henderson, Henry Peters, and Lewis Hale, enter the abandoned farmhouse, the reader can begin to acknowledge the presence of a patriarchal society. The men enter first, followed by the two women. Even in the description of the women, it can be observed that they (the women), tend to keep to the side lines, and allow the men to dominate. It is seen when the men which are “much bundled up and go at once to the stove.” (595). While the women almost creep in after them. In Susan Glaspell's “Trifles" the purpose is to emphasize the importance of gender roles during the early 1900s using symbolism. Examples of symbolism that she that she uses includes, the dead canary bird, the title, and the assertion that Mrs. Wright was going to knot rather than quilt the patchwork quilt. Glaspell used symbolism as clues to the murderer's motive that only the women were able to figure out, and in turn kept the motive of the murderer a secret due to the bond of women.
Trifles by Susan Glaspell is a one-act play centered around a woman, Mrs. Wright, who allegedly murdered her husband, Mr. Wright, in the night. There are no witnesses of his death; only unofficial confessions and he-said she-said talk. Without viable evidence and information (and the absence of Mrs. Wright altogether), the play soon focuses on a group of people who gather at the Wrights’ home the day after the murder. These characters include a male sheriff, county attorney, and neighboring farmer and their two wives. It is their job to determine what truly happened to Mr. Wright and piece together any evidence that would enable the conviction of Mrs. Wright. It is with the plot, setting, and overall use of symbolism that Glaspell communicates her message and themes. These messages and themes, which are the glue to the play, allow the audience to understand how unhappy of a life Mrs. Wright lived and how men viewed women’s roles as unimportant.
In the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, the play approaches the psychoanalytic perspective. As the play approaches many different angles from many characters, it is discussed from two women the behavior she accumulated. The inner mind of an individual develops unconscious thoughts which in result proceeds to the psychoanalytic perspective. The woman in this story is affected by it because of the environment that cages her in turmoil.
The feminist criticism offers an insight to the drama Trifles, by Susan Glaspell an author who thrived through the feminist movement with her writings. Her story talks about a character that’s the center of the plot but doesn’t even have a presence at all on the stage. A total of six characters, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters along with George Henderson, the county attorney and Henry Peters a farmer gathered at the home of Mrs. Wright. Her husband found strangled inside the house and they had their suspicions on how it happened. During the 1960’s the women’s rights movement was at its birth, while male dominance was at its peak Susan Glaspell expresses the gender difference depicting male dominance held over Mrs. Wright and how its used by the author to show a feminist perspective.
The power of women is different than that of men. Women display a subtle and indirect kind of power, but can be resilient enough to impact the outside world. In Trifles, Susan Glaspell delivers the idea that gender and authority are chauvinistic issues that confirm male characters as the power holders, while the female characters are less significant and often weak. This insignificance and weakness indicated in the play by the fact that the women had the evidence to solve a murder, but the men just ignored the women as if they had no value to the case at all. This weakness and inability of the female to contest the man’s view are apparent. According to Ben-Zvi, “Women who kill evoke fear because they challenge societal constructs of femininity-passivity, restraint, and nurture; thus the rush to isolate and label the female offender, to cauterize the act” (141). This play presents women against men, Ms. Wright against her husband, the two women against their spouses and the other men. The male characters are logical, arrogant, and stupid while the women are sympathetic, loyal, and drawn to empathize with Mrs. Wright and forgive her crime. The play questions the extent to which one should maintain loyalty to others. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale try to withhold incriminating evidence against Mrs. Wright, and by challenging the reader to question whether
Glaspell, Susan. "Trifles." Plays by Susan Glaspell. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc., 1920. Reprinted in Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia Eds. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 1995.
Many define drama to be a literary work that is to be performed in front of an audience. But to truly define drama one must comply with its themes in order to understand it fully. Drama is a form of art that is visually presented. It displays key characteristics of human emotions to give deeper meaning to what is being presented. Sometimes drama brings out what a person is truly feeling through a tragedy play or a play portraying good fortune. Drama plays are sometimes taken out of real life instances to extend the controversy of the event or elevate the excitement of the situation. Much like in Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles”, where a woman is being put on trial for killing her husband. Trifles are small insignificant things that can be ignored. Women are being ridiculed in this drama due to their lack of voice in society; however their superiority is shown through their keen eye for evidence. Symbolism in this play acts as a precursor to predestined events that take place. It can be observed by looking at anything that has specific significance to a scene, which Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters methodically point out. The unfinished quilt, the strangled bird, and fruit are the symbols that give insight what really happened between Mr. and Mrs. Wright, and what went wrong during their marriage to result in such a dreadful end.