Feminist Compare & Contrast essay

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Susan Glaspell’s play “Trifles” is in essence a murder mystery however the story’s core is more about women and oppression than murder. David Auburn's drama, "Proof," is the story of a young woman who has inherited her father's mathematical genius and possibly his mental instability, and the ambiguous authorship of a brilliant mathematical proof. At the first glance it seems that Auburn supports the ideas of feminism and women equal rights. However, the ending of the play reverts to a storyline that supports the more traditional and acceptable role of woman in our patriarchal society. The feminist conflict reflects differences over women’s position in society based on the sexist belief that men are superior to women and feminist’s belief that women and men are equal if different in capability and power. The play Trifles written 1916 and the play Proof written 2001 offer an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast how feminism appears in the forms of stereotypes stemming from a patriarchal culture.
In the play “Trifles” the women solve a murder mystery as they tend to stereotypically trifling “women’s work” such as mending and cleaning, making preserves and caring for pets. As these women discuss each “trifle” of the accused murderer, Mrs. Wright, they women see through her daily activities that her life consisted of cold male domination and psychological abuse. Therefore, they find the real evidence behind the murder as the men cannot find a single clue as to the motive or proof. The men completely overlook the important clues in the stereotypical belief that a women’s place is insignificant and so can have no valid input towards solving such an important thing as the murder. This play suggests that men and woman skil...

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...which defines Catherine with the domestic sphere and a traditional gender role as a housekeeping wife. Catherine's final luck in life seems not to be based that much on the appreciation of her mathematical skills, but on her relationship to a man.
In conclusion the roles of women in both plays are traditional for a patriarchal society while containing elements that attempt to illuminate the ongoing discrimination of women in male dominated fields. In my opinion “Trifles” has a stronger feminist message as it celebrates women’s unique abilities in the face of the narrow and limiting patriarchal stereotypes of women. While these two plays were written 120 years apart women still have to prove that they are equal to men, and the single biggest obstacle to equality remains the prejudice of a patriarchal society that limits our belief in what a woman is capable of.
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