Free Essay: Susan Glaspell's play Trifles explores male-female relationships through Glaspell's play, “Trifles”, main goal is portraying a theme of women being work dealt with the relationships between men and women and the negative. When speaking to the female characters in Trifles, Henderson and the identity solely from their relationship to men, the dominant gender. and find homework help for other Trifles questions at eNotes. The women are prepareed to accept Minnie's guilt at face value until a set of circumstances.
The wives of two of the men, Mrs. Hale, both of whom appear disturbed and fearful, follow the men inside. The play establishes its themes in its opening moments. The play examines the relationships between husbands and wives, particularly a marriage that ended in murder. The setting, a messy kitchen, reflects this. The women stand together, highlighting both the way they have been pushed together by their male-dominated society but also, possibly, their loyalty to each other over their husbands, a topic explored in the play.
Active Themes The sheriff asks Lewis Hale to describe the scene he discovered at the farmhouse the previous day. Peters reassures the attorney that nothing has been moved in the house since he saw it last, despite having sent one of his men ahead to prepare a fire.
Peters knew George Henderson would arrive the next day for them to go over the house for evidence. The men are concerned with the business of finding evidence, and George Henderson is established as the man in charge in the investigation. His testimony will not be questioned.
He had been hoping to convince John Wright to invest in a party line telephone with him, and thought maybe it would help to ask him in front of his wife, though he acknowledges that John paid little attention to what his wife wanted. Hale arrived at the house and found Minnie Wright sitting there in her rocking chair. He describes her as looking out of sorts. Hale asked what he died of, Minnie said that he died of a rope around his neck.
The irony of the request that brought Mr. Minnie Wright was starved for company, for the voice of any other living thing. Hale hoped to install a telephone, an object that could keep her in touch with others and combat loneliness.
But he was too late, an example of situational irony. The way that John was murdered—strangled by a rope—becomes critical later in the play as the characters search for a motive for murder. His first instinct, he says, was to remove the rope, but his companion cautioned him to not touch anything and to preserve any evidence. Before leaving, he questioned Minnie Wright about who killed her husband. The county attorney asks what Minnie did when Mr. Hale sent for the coroner to question her and Mr.
Hale says she stayed quiet. Her laughter and her fearful look are also treated as suspicious behavior. The men make various assumptions about women throughout this play. One assumption is that Minnie is guilty and they try to prove this, rather than try to understand her situation and her emotions.
The men are looking for facts, not context. George Henderson asks Mr.
The men never recognize that they have forced the women to be concerned about these things, by not allowing them to be concerned about anything else. Ironically, this dismissal ultimately causes the men to overlook the very evidence they seek. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations George Henderson, looking over the mess in the kitchen and noticing in particular the dirty towel, says Minnie seems to be a poor housekeeper.
The attorney accuses Mrs. Hale of being loyal to her own sex, or at least to her friend. Hale explains that she has rarely seen Minnie Wright over the last few years.Trifles lecture
When the attorney questions her further, she backs off of saying anything negative about John Wright. Hale knows how difficult it is to run a farmhouse, but Mr. Hale sees the injustice of this likely having experienced it herselfand so she defends Minnie against Mr. The women are united by their common experiences and loyal to each other because the men do not even try to understand their situation.
The men go upstairs. Peters, though, notes that the men are only doing their duty. Peters discovers the bread Minnie Wright had left out, but had not baked. Peters have slightly differing perspectives on the way the men treatment them. She conforms more strongly than Mrs. Hale recognizes in the clothing that Minnie had very little money for herself and that her husband, therefore, must have been particularly tight with money. She remembers the lively girl Minnie used to be when she wore pretty clothes.
Peters says that Minnie also requested to have an apron brought to her, and thinks this is a funny thing to want. The men are blind to, and completely uncaring about, all of this contextual understanding. Active Themes Abruptly, Mrs. Peters if she thinks that Minnie killed her husband.
Trifles Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
The women acknowledge the strangeness of killing a man in the way that John Wright was murdered, strangled in his sleep. Peters says that George Henderson said the men are looking primarily for evidence that would show a motive for killing John.
The discussion of a motive foreshadows the evidence the women will find, as well as establishes the importance of the evidence that they ultimately choose to conceal. The men reenter and, overhearing Mrs.
Hale discussing the quilt, laugh at the women for wondering about whether Minnie was planning to quilt or knot her piece to complete it. The men go out to the barn. The men scorn the domestic sphereeven kicking some of the items in contempt.
The two women, having pieced together the murder, face the moral dilemma of telling the men about the motive or protecting Minnie, whom they see as a victim.
Their choice raises questions about solidarity among women, the meaning of justice, and the role of women in society as a source of justice. Themes[ edit ] One of the constant themes and focuses of the story is the divide between the psychology of men and women. Their respective social roles allow them to perceive very different aspects of Minnie's life. One of the differences in psychology shown in the play is that women need a sense of community and do not fare well with loneliness, while men seem to be able to cope with loneliness.
There is also a theme of justice within the play, as the wives of the men recognize that Minnie was abused by her husband, and hide the evidence against her so that she will not be found guilty. The women side with Minnie and understand why she chose to kill her husband. Martha theorizes that after Minnie's marriage, she was prevented, by her husband, from singing or doing anything else which would have yielded her pleasure. Minnie's plight is represented by Martha as a spiritual death, symbolized in the strangling of her songbird companion.
Another point worth noting is that both Martha and Mrs. Peters express guilt over not having visited Minnie more often— which opens up the possibility that Martha's reading of the evidence is skewed by her own feelings that she should have helped Minnie. The use of Minnie's name is also symbolic. When the women talk about her, they use the name Minnie only when talking about her past. When she was a free-spirited, single woman her name was Minnie.
This represents her happiness. The Women refer to her as Mrs.
Wright when talking about her more recently. They talk as if Minnie died when she was married and Mrs. Wright took her place. The free-spirit died and was replaced by an isolated wife. The use of her names varies to demonstrate this metaphorical death. The cold weather freezes and breaks her preserve jars, symbolizing the cold environment of her home breaking her spirit, as well as the coldness which causes the characters to fail in human empathy towards each other.
The cold weather can also symbolize how Mr. The male characters are clear symbols of "law" and cold rationality, while the women display an intuitiveness representative of the psychoanalytic movement, evoking an interrogation of the value of superficial rational thought. Wright also acts as the "invisible" heroine for women's rights as the play was written and set during the suffragette movement.
Modern theatre[ edit ] The main "players" in the murder, Minnie the murderer and John Wright the murderedare never seen on stage.