Susan Glaspell’s Trifles: Why Glaspell's Choice for Trifles Is Such an Appropriate Title
Hale appears to be timid when we meet her at first. However as the play progresses we see a woman who is empathetic and even agrees to commit a crime by concealing the evidence they find in Mrs. Wright’s kitchen from the men investigating the crime. She is a remorseful person because she regrets not having come more often to visit Mrs. Wright because she knew of her loneliness. She manages to talk Mrs. Peters into the conspiracy of silence regarding the motive and evidence of Mr. Wright’s murder. Her understanding of the suffering of her fellow woman makes her frustrated with the men’s attitude towards women and thus chooses to protect one of her own.They think she might have committed the crime out of frustration and anger of her environment, which they say was lonely and depressing. Mrs. Wright was a lonely woman with no child and her only company was her bird that most probably was killed by her husband. Thus, she killed him in retaliation and Mrs. Peters identifies with her situation as she says how lonely she felt when her two-year-old child died and protects hides the evidence in her coat pocket. The two women describe Mr. Wright as a good man. This means that he had a dual character because to the outsiders he appeared as a quiet good husband. Yet Mrs. Hale says that he was a hard man and not pleasant to live with and that is why Mrs. Wright must had bought a bird to keep her company. Even though Mr. Wright did not take alcohol and always kept his word, he was not kind to his wife and did not try to make her life cheerful as he was always out working and mean when at home.
18). Glaspell sought to highlight these historical issues that affected women relegating them to insignificant figures in society. This theme offers the historical interpretation of this play.
Mrs. Hale knows the difference between the law and justice. She gave justice to Mrs.Wright when no one else was going to. The title Trifles is an appropriate name for this play, because it’s the small, simple details that are the evidence for solving this murder. Susan Glaspell uses this play to show how women were treated in the early 20th century, and how the husbands took their wives for granted. She wanted justice for the women, and she makes an incredible argument in this play.
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Holstein, S. (2003). Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell’s Trifles. The Midwest Quarterly. 44(2); 282-290.
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