The Deadly Silence in Trifles
While reading Susan Glaspell's play Trifles, the use of characters, descriptive language, and symbolism teaches the audience that one person's home and one person's way of living can also be an introduction to one person's private hell. Throughout the play, discoveries are made to teach the audience that maybe things are not what they seem and that sometimes people must take a deeper look into what is around them.
Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Peters, the county attorney, and the sheriff are the four main characters of the play that introduce the audience to the crime that has just been committed. The sheriff and Mrs. Peters are married so the audience also learns from these characters and their interactions what is expected out of a wife. These four characters, while showing the audience, the house, and the background of the murder, teach the audience how society was acting at that time and what was expected from the opposite sex. While the men are talking, they start to listen to Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters in the room and their bickering over preservatives. One of the men even says, "Well, women are used to worrying over such trifles" (6). When the county attorney makes this statement, the women become aware that the men are listening to the words that they are saying but the men do not really care about the women's opinions and continue their mocking discussion. This behavior reminds Mrs. Hale of Mrs. Wright and her husband.
Mrs. Hale has memories of Mrs. Wright and the way she used to be before her marriage to Mr. Wright. She feels ashamed that she did not help Mrs. Wright and says, "I might have known she needed help! I know how things can be--for women... We live close together and we live far apart. We all go through the same things--it's all just a different kind of same thing" (13). Her statement expresses to the audience that sometimes we need to take a deeper look at what is around us and see if help is needed.
In the play, descriptive language teaches the audience more about the surroundings than what the characters are actually saying to one another. "I've not been in this house--it's more than a year" (6), Mrs. Hale tells the county attorney. It is a very run down house, and the audience discovers there are no signs of anyone really ever being happy. The kitchen is dirty, and the women begin to feel uneasy about being in a house where there is nothing but darkness and coldness. The darkness is to signify how alone and empty Mrs. Wright was feeling while living with her husband. Mrs. Wright did not feel wanted, and she felt like all hope was lost which the audience recognizes with the help of Mrs. Hale's saying, "...he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the time of day with him. Like a raw wind that gets to the bone" (11). Mrs. Hale conveys these important details to Mrs. Peters,...