Power In Trifles

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One striking characteristic of the 20th century was the women's movement, which brought women to the forefront in a variety of societal arenas. As women won the right to vote, achieved reproductive freedom through birth control and legalized abortion, and gained access to education and employment, Western culture began to examine its long-held views about women. However, before the women’s movement of the 20th century, women’s roles were primarily of a domestic nature. Trifles by Susan Glaspell indicates that a man’s perspective is entirely different from a woman’s. The one-act play, Trifles, is a murder mystery which examines the lives of rural, middle-aged, married, women characters through gender relationships, power between the sexes, and …show more content…

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 …show more content…

The jar of preserves, the broken birdcage, and the re-stitched quilt pieces lead to the connection leading Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to the joint decision about guilt and innocence. Susan Glaspell illustrates how women can share experiences and become empowered. Most women value their lives as women and see themselves as man’s equal. The female characters pay attention to the more insignificant clues and quickly uncover Mrs. Wright’s motive for the murder. Supposedly based on a true murder story, Susan Glaspell's Trifles does more than just rework a tale of murder; it reveals the features of the society that produced the crime. The one-act play Trifles utilizes characters, dialogue, symbolism, language, and themes to present real-life problems that have faced nations for many years. The drama illustrates the issues of equality, male domination and the empowerment of women. The themes of gender differences and isolation shown through the ways the roles of men and women are viewed and by the male dominance over women. In contrast, it is the women who give legitimacy to the evidence, as they empathize with Mrs. Wright who, in their final assessment, may have flipped out as a result of ongoing domestic violence. Through the course of the play, the men fumble around in the dark, unaware of the incriminating evidence that surrounds them. The author blends

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the one-act play, trifles, examines the lives of rural, middle-aged, married women characters through gender relationships, power between the sexes, and the nature of truth.
  • Analyzes how the male characters never address the women by their first names in the play, stating that society expects all women to be cautious and homely.
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