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Play Trifles by Susan Glaspell

Home Free essays Analysis Play Trifles by Susan Glaspell

The Overall Theme of the Play Trifles by Susan Glaspell

Gender inequality has always been an urgent issue. Over the centuries, men oppressed women, considering them as lower, subordinate beings which are not able to act wholesome functions. Thus, for a long time females were not allowed to have a proper education, as well as to do many sorts of work. It has been regarded that women have only to run a household; the other duties are mens concern. Centuries have passed, and everything changed. Emancipation is a vivid feature of modern women. Women are independent and free now. Nevertheless, some remnants of the old traditions are surreptitiously saved so far. Some male employers as well as some female ones do not give leading positions to women. Physical violence, including dating one, still stays one of the most humiliating and harmful issues for women nowadays. Therefore, the subject matter of the research is the overall theme of gender inequality in Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles.

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Ancient and modern writers have always been touching the theme of gender inequality and men were usually perceived as being rude, impudent, self-arrogant beings. Susan Glaspell, an American winning playwright and novelist, discovered a theme of gender in her compelling drama work Trifles. Revealing the developed ability to notice the hidden objects and secret motives, women were found to be perfunctory judging the case of murder, while men were depicted to feel themselves the upper caste and cleverer than their wives. Symbolism in the title of the play that leads to pondering over what men consider being the trifles are, in fact, the meaningful things that women used to notice. However, the females managed to find the right answers, while men mocked at them and thought they were tagging along down the drain. Besides, Glaspell wrote her one-act drama based on real events. She was a journalist at the time when a similar murder as in a play happened. Later, inspired by her invaluable experience she embodied the material into the dramatic play named Trifles. Thus, even the documentary basis of the aforementioned composition gives an idea that gender inequality is the real-time problem, perhaps it have been more urgent and visible earlier.

The play begins with men in the play talking over the incident and women being nervous. Then the men, especially the sheriff and Mr. Henderson, discussed Mrs. Wrights low-quality skills as a homemaker, while women were observing her preserves. They concluded that Minnie would have been disappointed a lot if the jar had been broken. Having heard the womens conversation, the men started to laugh as they considered that the females always troubled over trifles. Mrs. Hales confessed the Attorney that she did not visit the Wrights house much in the past, proving it with the statement: It have never seemed to be a cheerful place (Glaspell). Now she regretted not visiting the Wrights because felt guilty of what have happened. She believed she could influence Minnie and prevent the catastrophe. Minnie Wright was not very happy in marriage with her husband. Even men recalled in the memory how much beautiful and lively she had been before marriage.

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As Mrs. Wright was already in jail, she was the main suspect in the murder of his husband and evidently his factual murderer. As John Wright was suffocated, women wondered that in case that this was his own wife who killed him, she had to come through a complicated process of tying a rope around his neck nevertheless there was a gun in the house. Having discovered an unfinished quilt in the house, the women were curious about whether Mrs. Wright was going quilt it or knot it (Glaspell). This time men made fun of women again, although Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters were the ones who solved the case. Thus, they also found the broken cage of the throttled singer bird, made a parallel between the suffocated birdie and suffocated husband of Mrs. Wright. However, later the attorney asked women whether Minnie was going to quilt it or knot it. Their answer was to knot. It meant that Mrs. Wright strangled Mr. Wright as well as she did it to the bird. Her inexplicable behavior on the outside could be explained by the coldness and harshness of her husband, which erased the vivid color off her cheeks.

The play ends with women deciding not to confess anything they found out to men. As for the male characters, they left the house without finding details and feeling satisfied with obvious evidence. They could not make Mr. Hale guilty without any motive, so still arrogant they gave up for now. If men had treated women better, they would treat themselves in the same way. However, men even did not want to listen to female sex and go mocking at them. Consequently, their supercilious attitude toward women led to their own destruction and failure to investigate the crime. Women found out the truth, but decided not to reveal it to men, perhaps, being afraid of mocking. Apparently, men instilled into them the thought of being meaningless. Through the story of crime, Susan Glaspell wanted to show people her anger at men and their mistreatment towards women. Therefore, Minnie killed John by means of suffocation, while her own unhappy marriage suffocated her. The problem of gender inequality is still an argent issue even if its existence is invisible to the naked eye.

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