In the beginning, whenever Mrs. Hale criticizes the men for their heavy-handed investigation, Mrs. Peters apologizes for them. However, Mrs. Hale convinces her that real justice would be the punishment of anyone who had neglected and isolated Minnie. In a world where women had no say in the creation of the laws, this questions whether women should be expected to follow laws that they were never given a say in. The unfolding evidence unites the women and their need to support each other. It highlights the division between "woman 's concept of justice,” which entails "social" and "individual influences, together with the details that shaped the specific act," and "[t]he prevailing law [which] is general, and therefore . . . inapplicable to the specific case (Alkalay-Gut;
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.
In the plays Trifles and A Doll House men believe women only focus on trivial matters. While Mrs. Wright is being held in jail for the murder of her husband, she is concerned about the cold weather causing her jars of fruit to freeze and burst. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale discuss Mrs. Wright's concern over her canned fruit after finding a broken jar. Mrs. Peters voices Mrs. Wright's concern, "She said the fir'd go out and her jars would break" (Glaspell 1.27). The Sheriff's response is, "Well can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin' about her preserves" (Glaspell 1.28). The women realize the hard work involved in canning this fruit and understand Mrs. Wright's concern. The men see this as unimportant compared to the trouble Mrs. Wright is facing.
In a play, the audience should be intrigued and ready for what is to come next. It is a play that works by understanding. It has the audience on their seat to make them be part of the play. Susan Glaspell wrote a play based on an actual murder. “In the process of completing research for a biography of Susan Glaspell, [she] discovered the historical source upon which Trifles ...Glaspell covered the case and the subsequent trial when she was a reporter for the Des Moines Daily News”(Ben-Zvi 143). In the early nineteen-hundreds women were seen as weak. They were females knew the understanding of every clue that was leading to the case and the reasoning behind it.
In today’s society, many women are powerful, independent, and for the most part treated equal to men, but before the 1920's women were restrained by the men. Imagine what being a woman in this era would be like. In Susan Glaspell’s play “Trifles,” she addresses the life of women in the 1900’s by examining the marital relationships among the characters, specifically between Mrs. Wright and Mr. Wright, the Sheriff and Mrs. Peters, and last Mr. Hale and Mrs. Hale. Glaspell accomplishes this by separating the husbands and wives into different rooms in the home of the Wrights, leaving the women all together in the living room and kitchen, which is where they find the crime scene evidence. The point being is that the men did not consider what the
Sexism was evident in society during the time era of “Trifles” and is challenged by Susan Glaspell’s female characters through structure, setting, and symbolism. It was very much frowned upon that the women were superior to the men then and even today men don’t want women to be equal to them let alone superior to them. So in order for a woman to get the greatest victory, as displayed through Mrs. Hale and Peters, they must
The short one-act play Trifles by Susan Glaspell, was years ahead of its time. Its time was 1916 but the subject matter is timeless. The aspect of this play that most caught my interest was the contrast between the men and women characters. This is a play written in the early 1900s but transcends time periods and cultures. This play has many strengths and few weaknesses, but helps to provide a very accurate portrait of early American women and the issues they dealt with in everyday comings and goings.
Virginia Woolf once said,“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” These insightful words, of English modernist and feminist writer, seem a perfect summation of the enduring oppression and silencing of women in society. A paramount theme and notion present in fellow feminist playwright, Susan Glaspell’s Trifles. Glaspell’s 1916 one act play explores notions of gender, justice, and freedom; through her command of the English language and rhetoric.
In her landmark feminist play, "Trifles," Susan Glaspell offers a peek at the complicated political and social systems that both silenced and divided women during their struggle for equality with men. In this simple but highly symbolic tale, a farmer's wife, Minnie Wright, is accused of strangling her husband to death. The county attorney, the sheriff, a local farmer, the sheriff's wife and the farmer's wife visit Minnie's farm house. As the men "look for clues," the women survey Minnie's domestic environment. While the men scoff at the women's interest in what they call "trifles," the women discover Minnie's strangled bird to realize that Minnie's husband had killed the bird and Minnie had, in turn, killed him. They bond in acknowledgment that women "all go through the same things--it's all just different kind of the same thing" (1076). As their horror builds and the women unravel the murder, they agree to cooperate with one another, conspiring to protect Minnie against the men by hiding the incriminating "evidence."
In the 1900's most people would say that men hold the most power. But, women can also show power. In the play, "Trifles" written by Susan Glaspell demonstrates how women can hold the most power. “Trifles” was a play written in the early 20th century, and at that time men are considered superior to women. At the beginning of the play, the Sheriff and County Attorney began to look for clues to figure out who killed John Wright. They only discovered that Mrs. Wright, also known as Minnie Foster looked “queer” (Glaspell 745). And also, the men had found is that the kitchen was not in order, but they thought nothing of it. After the men left, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters found clues that would infer what happened to Mr. Wright. The women hold the most power in the story because they solved the crime and withheld evidence from the men.
The play, Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell, establishes the discrepancy between men and women’s perception and roles during the early 1900s. Its title, Trifles is tied to the concept that is reemphasized many times in the play, which illustrates that women’s thoughts, observations, and voices were considered as trifles or something of which that has least significance to the society and its values. Glaspell gradually builds the plot up to a controversial murder mystery by giving each character specific attributes and by developing symbolism with the objects mentioned in the play. However, if the play was elaborated to incorporate more details of some factors such as characterization and background of Mr. Peters, Mr. Hale, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale for a movie, then it could possibly lose its mysterious sensitivity and hinder imagination of particular components of the mystery in the readers’ mind.
In the play Trifles, the conflict was solving a mystery murder of Mr. Wright. The main idea that men assumed woman’s role upon solving the crime resonates with an audience of Woman viewing the importance of woman’s rights. The wife of the Sheriff, Mrs. Peters had highly assumed expectations, of the Sheriff and the other men who came to collect evidence of the crime, that were not held up to for a very important reason. The scene of the play Trifles portrayed a lot of character judgement towards woman having the role of keeping the home perfect despite anything. The alleged role didn’t sit well with the Sheriff’s wife and Mrs. Hale which caused secrecy of rebellion between the gender roles in the play. In this case, the men judging woman caused the woman activist to rebel. Consequently, when expectations are set stereotypically, the
Susan Glaspell lived in the era where the act of feminism started to increase, which was during a time when women’s right were not as recognized in the general public. She is well known for writing pieces that revolve around the issue of feminism because the tyranny of women during this time had come to a point where women were not truly accepted as their own person. Their only tenacity was to care for their families by doing what they’re expected to do such as caring for the house and children. Glaspell even establishes in her story that the women weren’t mentioned as an individual but as someone’s wife, such as property. In her play titled Trifles, she shows that women are keener than the men in their lives give them praise for. Glaspell uses her play to make a very radical statement that women are more intelligent than alleged and are more than just a housewife that is uneducated and clueless.
'Well, women are used to worrying over trifles,' (Glaspell 957) remarks crime scene eyewitness Mr. Hale in Susan Glaspell's short play Trifles. As this quotation blatantly demonstrates, literature has had a lengthy history of gender bias, both in terms of adequate representation of women as authors and as formidable, strong characters. In this reference to his and the sheriff's wives, Mr. Hale presents the argumentative conflict that will prove prevalent, if latent, throughout the course of this work. In the play, the male characters are regarded as intellectually superior to their wives, who are patronized as rather childish for their concern in domestic detail. In Trifles, Glaspell makes a feminist leap as she portrays her female characters with ample cunning to secretly and humbly triumph over male condescending.
Susan Glaspell was one of the first great American female playwrights. Her plays are often short, one or two acts, but they tell a story greater than just what appears on the page. Three of her plays, Trifles (1916), Women’s Honor (1918), and The Verge (1921), have feminist themes that show the consequences of the oppression of women, as is the case with many of her plays. All three plays were written during the first wave of feminism, during which there was a push for women to have jobs and opportunities and identities, ideas well represented in Glaspell’s plays. Glaspell’s plays show the struggle of being a woman during an era when women were trying to form their own identities. Through Glaspell’s use of feminist themes in Trifles, Women’s Honor, and The Verge, the social changes that women experienced in early twentieth century are explored as the women of her plays discover who they are and what they believe outside of what the patriarchy has determined.