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Trifles by Susan Glaspell: Women’s Silent Voices Essay

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In today’s society, we generally view upon everyone as equal; however this view did not exist for decades. Throughout history, there were many instances showing that men dominated women and women were often seen as left with less important or treated as an inferior being. Women were often expected to be good mothers to their children as well as caretakers to their husband. After reading the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, I was able to grasp the important facts about social views of women and their domestic roles. Glaspell’s play depicts the gender inequality which exists in the society, drawing significant attention to the societal values of women at that time. Although women’s roles are treated as unimportant, she depicts women’s devotion that lies with each other and emphasizes how they survive the patriarchal society.
Susan Glaspell highlights the settings as theatrical metaphors for male dominated society in the early 20th century. “Trifles” begins with an investigation into the murder of Mr. Wright. The crime scene is taken at his farmhouse where clues are found that reveals Minnie Wright to be a suspect of murder. In the beginning of the play, it clearly embodies the problems of subordination of women. For example, there are two main characters in this play—Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, who are brought along with the sheriff and attorney to find evidence for Mr. Wright’s murder. The men gather and work together at the stove and they talk with each other in familiarity while women “stand close together near the door behind men” (Glaspell 444). Perhaps the location of the women standing behind the men near the door reflects also their secondary or inferior social standing in the eyes of the men. Moreover, it seems that the wo...


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...ve been suffering mental abuse by their husband. This play presents the voice of feminism and tries to illustrate that the power of women is slightly different, but can be strong enough to influence the male dominated society. Although all women are being oppressed in the patriarchal society at that time, Glaspell uses this play as a feminist glory in a witty way to win over men. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters solve the crime by reflecting on Minnie Wright’s unhappy marriage that leads her to murdering. Using the relationship between female and male characters throughout the play, Glaspell speaks up to emphasize how the patriarchal society underestimated women’s rights and restricted women’s desires.



Works Cited

Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles” Literature of Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. 10th ed. New York: Pearson, 2014. 443-453. Print.


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