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The fact that Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are addressed as such while the men are called “County Attorney” and “Sheriff” somehow simply affords the women a rather cheap, subservient role of a wife and somehow demeans the role of women in society in general.
Aside from being assigned subservient roles, the women in the play are shown to be “worrying over trifles,” which implies that women in 20th century America are concerned about anything but useful (Glaspell). In the play, Haley somehow ridicules the women for “worrying over trifles” because instead of worrying about the crime, they worry a lot about the preserves that Mrs. Wright has left frozen (Glaspell). The two women also busy themselves with other “trifles” such as Mrs. Wright’s sewing things (Glaspell). The fact that women are shown to be worrying over trifles may also imply that they too should be treated like trifles themselves.
The play also shows that women are inferior to men and should simply just keep themselves silent. What Mrs. Hale means when she mentions, “We think the—cat got it,” seems to be the old expression to mean that one is speechless: “Has the cat got your tongue?” (Glaspell; Holstein 285). This means that women in America in the early 20th century somehow did not have a voice of their own in a male-dominated society. In fact, throughout the whole play, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are considered ignorant by the men. The suspect Mrs. Wright may also have been forced to keep silent by her husband, and so this could have become her motive for killing him. Moreover, one symbol in the play used to show that the silence of women is the dead bird in the birdcage with its neck wrung. The singing bird was once Mrs. Wright – “one of the town girls singing in the choir” (Glaspell). However, her marriage turned her into a dead bird that
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The title of the play echoes the perception of women generally feeling possessive and concerned about “trifle” matters that have no significance in the surrounding world. It is mainly the men who eye the women in this manner and consider them consciously or unconsciously less important.
The play shows how women in the past were looked down upon. These women were mistreated by their husbands, since they had no power to object their actions. Men viewed themselves to be more important than women and oppressed their wives so much. In the play, women were in most cases associated with households’ chores which men considered as useless.
This paper aims to look deeper into the symbolisms that Glaspell used in her play such as the location of Wright’s farmhouse, the rope, telephone, canary, birdcage and the word trifles. This will be examined closer in order for readers to have a clearer and deeper understanding of the story.
The author has used various literary elements like strong plot, setting, character, gender conflict, symbolism etc. to focus the plight of women and to question the validity of a judicial system where the evidence of crime as confirmed by men is enough to charge the prime suspect of the crime.
Thus, the feminist themes which run throughout the piece revolve around invoking a paradigm shift in how societies as a whole value, or devalue, the relevance and significance of male and female perspectives. Glaspell does this by creating a
nie Wright) enact how the female world is bonded through common experiences of loss, anxiety, friendship, happiness, and unhappiness; and how they are able to analyze the psyches of each other.
Psychoanalysis is used intensively in criminal investigation and sometimes it proves
The whole play Trifles is about the characters ( The sheriff Henry Peters, the county attorney George Henderson, the neighbor Lewis Hale, the thin Mrs. Peters, and the large Mrs. Hale) searching for clues to solve a murder case in a dull and messy kitchen of John Wright's farmhouse.
One of the finest early feminist dramas, the play is decked up with countless metaphors and symbols which make it transcend the mundane theories and parameters of aesthetics. And the most fascinating part of its plot is that Minnie Wright, the murderer, and her husband John Wright never appear on stage.
John got strangled in his sleep and Minnie is held as a suspect in jail (Glaspell 3). The play’s title provides a clue to its main theme. The play provides a look at the perceived role and place of the woman in society at the time.
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