Analysis of the Play “Trifles”

The play Trifles by Susan Glaspell was written in 1916 and it depicts her view on the cultural issues, such as gender and sex roles. She shows that the concerns of women are taken to be of little importance and makes no impact on the society. The author writes it on the basis of a small one-act play which is about the murder of John Hossack, aged sixty. At the time she was a journalist with the “Des Moines Daily News” after graduating from Drake University.


The front scene of the play is well explained and takes place in the disheveled and vacant farmhouse of John Wright. Main actors in the play are Sherriff, his wife, a man called Hale, his wife, and the county Attorney. The play is a private female domain. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale later become to be the central characters of the play. With the beginning of the play, the main conflict appears to be a search of the murderer. The men are considered to be more valuable for the society and believe it is the kitchen that is the place where the crime was done. However, the idea is not approved by the women. Despite the male dominance in the play, women disagree with the status quo given to them.

As the men leave the kitchen with no evidence in order to continue searching in the bedroom, women replace them and they discover some details that later become clues (Glaspell, 918). The women begin understanding the life of Minnie Wright. This evidently shows that the women succeed in places where even law is hopeless. Each time the men enter the stage they make negative comments towards women and this shows the masculine solidarity. Hale portrays gender rules over class and social aspects.

Although men do not understand the way women think of events of the murder the details of the crime are well explained by the women as they recall the life of Minnie, who was a singer and a happy person before marriage, emphasizing the way her life has changed after the marriage (Glaspell, 923). They make their judgment and seek for her forgiveness rather than convict. However, the play does not describe the fate of Minnie Wright, though there is still a strong feeling that the jury will still sentence her. The men decide to return to find evidence, but do not get any, since all the possible evidence has been damaged by the women who managed to fing worthy evidence. The play provides a description of the female impact on the society. Glaspell has employed various techniques that influences playwrights.

Response comments

The first student is precise in making conclusions about the play. The women are more superior to men in unraveling the occurrences. They tend to connect the past style of life of Mrs. Wright before her marriage and the one after ther marriage. Moreover, they show the marital problems which result in the eventual murder of her husband (Glaspell, 923). Moreover, the women make judgment and forgive the murderer by stating that it was not she who should be blamed, but her marriage life which, actually, led her to the criminal act. They outdo men in their findings that show that their decisions need to be heard by the society.

I am in concurrence with the second student that Oedipus is not perfect, although he is a clever man. He is far from the truth as he is being challenged by Tiresias who is the blind prophet (Charles, 69). He thinks that using his wits he will hide the truth from the society, but Tiresias brings the truth to publicity. Moreover, he threatens Tiresias with death after he was unable to hide his anger and refused to hear any warnings given to him from the people who surrounded him.