Justice In Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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In the play Trifles, Susan Glaspell brings together three women through a crime investigation in the late nineteenth century. Glaspell uses symbolism, contrast of sexes, and well-constructed characters to show that justice for all equally important to finding the truth. Perhaps the most prevalent literary device in Trifles is the rich symbolism. Each of the women in the play are equally important, but come together to become more powerful. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters directly bond, while Mrs. Wright indirectly contributes from jail by leaving them small clues. In Greek mythology, there are three sisters known as The Fates, who control the existence of men, and each of the women in Trifles seem to parallel The Fates. Mrs. Hale is strong witted,…show more content…
Mrs. Hale describes Minnie as formerly singing “real pretty herself” (Glaspell p666). The connection between Minnie and the canary is established here, and in the bird’s physical death parallels Minnie’s emotional death (Russell). Mrs. Hale’s keen wit and patience contributes to her embodiment of The Fate sister named Clotho the Spinner, which even more evident in her correcting of Minnie Wright’s improper stitching (Russell). Mrs. Peters begins the process of investigation deeply devoted to keeping the law. She doesn 't want any disruption in the house saying, “I don 't think we ought to touch things” (Glaspell p 666) when Mrs. Hale began searching for clues. Upon finding the dead canary, Mrs. Peters view on the situation changes drastically, and she decides with Mrs. Hale to hide the tiny dead bird from the men. They both figure that if the dead canary was discovered, Mrs. Wright would be thought to be a mad woman, though it was likely Mr. Wright who killed it. Mrs. Peters sympathizes with Minnie remembering back to an old memory of her childhood, where a menacing boy killed her small kitten with a hatchet (Russell). Mrs. Peters then realizes that the justice to be served is to conceal evidence and find the answers for themselves. These…show more content…
The strong women characters in Trifles allow for feminist discussion, but also question the classic gender roles present at any point in time. Through the crime committed by Minnie Wright, three women grow together and establish that justice for all is deeper than finding the culprit. Justice occurs in all things, in hiding the clues by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, in the quiet dignity they both have by helping their friend, and by proving that women are capable of anything they are determined to
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