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Trifles - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date “Trifles”: Minnie Wright’s Guilt. Susan Glaspell’s play, “Trifles,” poses a moral dilemma about law and justice. John Wright has been discovered murdered in bed, strangled with a rope round his neck. His wife, Minnie, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held in the county jail…
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Trifles
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Trifles

Download file to see previous pages... The women are there to collect a few clothes and necessities to take to Minnie. As they move round the house, the women find the cage of Minnie’s pet canary broken open and then find the corpse of the bird in a box with its neck wrung. It is obvious to Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale that Wright has killed the canary and this is Millie’s motive for murdering her husband. In a show of feminine empathy and solidarity, the two women conceal Minnie’s crime from the men. The moral dilemma of the play lies in the unspoken debate on Minnie’s guilt, or innocence, and the rightness of the action of the women. Minnie Wright should not be found guilty of her actions because of the personality of her husband, the fact that she has been punished enough, and the low chances of her receiving justice at the hands of a largely male jury. John Wright is a man of queer character. He is obviously not a sociable man and is critical of others. Refusing to join Lewis Hale in a party telephone, Wright says, “folks talked too much anyway, and all he asked was peace and quiet” (Glaspell, 5). It is clear that he is a taciturn, unsociable man who prefers to be a loner. His personality is characterized by the absence of any trace of joy. Mrs. Hale tells the County Attorney, “I don’t think a place’d be any cheerfuller for John Wright’s being in it” (Glaspell, 11). It is acknowledged that, in spite of being “good” in terms of being a teetotaler , truthful and paying his debts, he is undoubtedly “a hard man” (Glaspell, 22). Again, in every reference to the murdered man, there are suggestions that he was not a good husband. Hale hints of Wright’s indifference to Minnie’s needs by saying, “I didn’t know as what his wife wanted made much difference to John” (Glaspell, 5). Mrs. Hale confirms her husband’s view of Wright by pointing out that he did not have the homemaking instinct. Wright is so close-fisted that he does not give Minnie the little money she needs to join the Ladies Aid. His wife does not have the means to wear pretty clothes and is forced to be shabbily turned out. Above all, it is evident that John Wright had a cruel streak in him. This is demonstrated in his killing of the canary. There is no doubt that Wright is the one who wrung the bird’s neck. A man who could break open a bird cage and brutally strangle the helpless creature is not a man to live with. John Wright’s character is definitely an extenuating factor in any estimation of Minnie’s actions and her guilt. Wright’s character is such that any woman who is constrained to share his life undergoes a form of punishment. Minnie Wright has been punished enough over her years as John Wright’s wife. When just a casual meeting with the man is “like a raw wind that gets to the bone” (Glaspell, 22), it is clear that being his wife is hell. The woman who “used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir,” (Glaspell, 14) is transformed by her marriage into a shabbily dressed, silent housewife. The transformation is so great, that Mrs. Hale exclaims in emphatic wonder, “How – she – did – change (Glaspell, 22). Wright’s off-putting personality ensures that she has no visitors and remains in lonely isolation. His tight-fistedness closes Minnie’s door to any social life. Mrs. Hale regrets the fact that she never ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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