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Analysis of Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay

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"Trifles" is a play with a unified plot. Although there are verbal flashbacks to the events of the day of the murder of John Wright, the play's entire plot begins and ends in a span of one day. The author also extends the unified plot to create a single setting (the farmhouse kitchen). The plot centers on John Wright's murder. Mrs. Wright is the main suspect; an investigation is taking place as to the motive or reason for the crime.

The Sheriff, Mr. Hale and the County Attorney are introduced first to the audience. They are investigating the crime scene. The women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, accompany the men to gather whatever of Mrs. Wright's belongings that she needs in jail. This exposition turns ironic when the women end up "investigating" and actually come up with evidence, while the professional men leave without an answer to their quest to find a motive for the murder of Mrs. Wright's husband.

Mr. Hale gives an account of what he came upon the day of the murder. He found Mrs. Wright in a state of shock and nervousness. Mr. Hale states that Mr. Wright didn't care much for talking to people; all he wanted was peace and quiet. This foreshadowing will be used by the women, mainly Mrs. Hale, to connect the motive to the dead bird that they find later on in the play. Additional foreshadowing facts are the broken jelly jar and the "very cold" kitchen atmosphere. Again, the women feel that this coldness was what drove Mrs.' Wright to murder. Mrs. Hale informs the County Attorney that Mr. Wright was not a very cheerful man, which may be why the farmhouse does not look or feel cheery. The audience learns that Mr. Wright was a cold, uncommunicative, selfish man.

The theme of men versus women come into view...


... middle of paper ...


...ver, Mrs. Peters undergoes character development from believing that it should be up to the law to decide what should happen to Mrs. Wright to being convinced that women ought to stand together against the stereotypical views of women that the men have. This change occurs when Mrs. Peters recalls a childhood event that involved her cat and a mean, dreadful little boy.

The play's rising action occurs at the point when the men could not connect the why and the how of John Wright's murder. The women, as they meddle with their "trifles", uncovers the knowledge and objects that the masculine detectives were seeking. In the end, the men come up empty and the women leave the farmhouse with concealed evidence in hand - the dead bird. The audience is left thinking that Mrs. Wright will be a free woman. As to what the actual verdict will be, no one knows.


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