“Trifles” by Susan Glaspell: Drama Research

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It is important to note that the play Trifles by Susan Glaspell is an outstanding piece of theatre and writing which explores critical ideas of feminism and gender identity within the context of historical patriarchal societal structure. The plot highly pertains to women since it is heavily focused on two intertwined storylines of investigation of the murder, which includes females’ and males’ perspectives on the issue. Glaspell uses the theme of justice, gender roles, and female solidarity to highlight the difficulty of living under a restrictive patriarchic social environment with an absent power balance between genders.

When it comes to considering the roles of husbands and wives in the story, clear observations can be made. For example, both Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters remain at home while men are investigating the case (Glaspell). These issues are illustrated with “precise realism, exact details, accurate dialogue, and conscious awareness of certain Midwestern ingredients” (Russell 145). In other words, the historical context is preserved with a realistic depiction of gender roles. It should be noted that the role of wives to be incompetent in such matters is perfectly shown in the play, which lays a foundation for the irony of the investigation of men (Schoenberg 2). Thus, women are told to be uninvolved due to their inferiority, which proves to be the opposite of men’s expectation of them since their wives gain the most insight into murder (Holstein 284). The final outcome of women’s investigation results in female solidarity, where they are able to view the case in a broader context, which makes the struggle itself the source of power for these wives (Milton 187). Minnie Wright’s intentions and actions are properly understood through female solidarity because they all share the common oppression of patriarchy.

Works Cited

Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Wharf Theatre, 1916.

Holstein, Suzy C. “Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell’s ‘Trifles.’” The Midwest Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 3, 2003, pp. 282-290.

Milton, Levin. “Glaspell, Susan 1876–1948.” American Writers, vol. 1, no. 3, 1991, pp. 175-191.

Russell, Judith K. “Glaspell’s Trifles.” Drama Criticism, vol. 55, no. 2, 1997, pp. 143-197.

Schoenberg, Thomas J., and Lawrence J. Trudeau. “Susan Glaspell.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, vol. 175, 2006, pp. 1-4.