The Vulnerability of Women's identity
In the late 18th century to the early 19th century, women in the the society have been looked down upon by men. Susan Glaspell’s play, “Trifles”, was written in 1916, which reflects on the preoccupation of women’s role in the society. “Trifles” suggests, the concern of women are often considered as an unimportant issue, or even no importance to the true work of society, which is being carried out by men. Trifles is about a murder case where the wife, Minnie Wright, was accused for the murder of her husband John Wright. The sheriff, the county attorney, and the neighbours, Mr. and Ms. Hale explains how he paid a visit to the house the previous day, and searches for the evidence to prove Mrs. Wright guilty for the murder. The play subtly illustrates how the female characters, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, spots many small evidences to prove Mrs. Wright’s murder. However, the male characters do not spot these evidences, even though the female characters were subtly revealing the evidences through their testimonies. Glaspell uses the characters of the play, symbolism, and the message of the play to convey the notion of women’s inferiority.
Susan introduced five main characters in “Trifles”: The Sheriff, The county attorney, Mr. and Mrs. Hale, and Mrs Peters. The characters that play a significant role in this play are the female characters, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. Throughout the play, the male characters did not consider women’s testimony as a serious issue. For instance, whenever the female characters speak, the county attorney responded with a sarcastic attitude when they were bringing up the quilt and the knotting. The county attorney responded “Well ladies, have you decided whether she was going to quilt it or knot it?”(page 96) This reflects how female’s identity is not seriously recognised by the male character. Although the female characters were able to find the evidence of the murder, the evidence was neglected because they were not acknowledged by the men.
In the play “Trifles”, the symbolism of the dead bird was used to emphasized the inferiority of women’s identity. Glaspell used symbolism throughout the play to show the bonding between the women characters, Mrs Peters, Mrs Hale, and Mrs Wright. As they were gathering things for Mrs Wright at her house, they discover a broken bird cage and the bird missing. Later, when they went through her belongings, they find the dead bird in Mrs. Wright's sewing box neatly placed in silk. When Mrs. Hale looked at the bird she related the bird to Mrs. Wright when she stated, "she was kind of like a bird herself-real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and-fluttery,"(page 95). The bird was a symbol of hope in her life. It was the closest thing to her children, and freedom. When the women found the bird and the way it was killed, they realized that Mrs. Wright killed her husband because they detected...