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Transcript of Trifles
The drama "Trifles" has a strong theme of gender differences. In this time period, women were supposed to tend to housework, and real things of importance were left to the men. This play shows a great example of how men are too busy mocking the women, who are worrying about "trifles," that they miss the actual clues right in front of them.
"Trifles" tells a story about a murder investigation, where men are trying to find evidence that proves Mrs. Wright killed her husband. Their wives come along to fetch belongings for Mrs. Wright, and unknowingly discover the mystery of the true crime that took place. By being observant to the many little details, or trifles, of a woman's work, they uncover the evidence that discovers what actually happened in the Wright's farmhouse.
The quilt Minnie was piecing could be considered a metaphor for her life. She carefully worked on each piece making sure it was perfect, just like she tried to remain quiet and follow her wifely duties as her husband wanted. Her last piece became messy and unorganized quite like how Minnie became before she killed her husband. The question if Minnie was going to quilt the pieces or knot them was a metaphor for Minnie's future. Would she continue her life as it was, quietly quilting, or would she change her future and knot it, or in other words, kill her husband.
The dramatic irony in the play "Trifles" is that the women end up taking the lead in the investigation without the men realizing. The play begins with the men searching for hard evidence, and the women stumble upon the actual little pieces of evidence the entire time, figuring out the crime. The men mock and laugh at the women for their findings calling them "trifles" and never discover evidence for themselves. The women had the upper hand the entire time.
Protagonist vs. Antagonist
The protagonist(s) of this play are the women: Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale. They evolve and endure the most change during the play.
The antagonist(s) of the play are the men: The attorney, the sheriff, and Mr. Hale. They do not change the entire play, mocking the women the entire time and belittling them.
"Well, can you beat the women! Held for murder and worryin' about her preserves"... "Well, women are used to worrying over trifles."
-Sheriff and Mr. Hale
"Trifles" by Susan Glaspell
Susan wrote "Trifles" in 10 days for the Provincetown Players in 1916
"Trifles" is Susan's best known play out of many
Susan based her drama "Trifles" over a murder trial she covered as a newspaper reporter in Des Moines
"Trifles" is a drama about an intriguing murder investigation where the women may have the upper hand, and the men fall foolishly behind.
Cast of Characters
The scene takes place in the abandoned farmhouse of Mr. and Mrs. John Wright. Mr. Wright has been murdered and found by Mr. Hale, and Mrs. Wright has been taken into custody. The house is cold, dreary, and the kitchen has been left a mess.
Symbolism in "Trifles"
Mrs. Wright's messy kitchen can symbolize the state she was in before killing her husband. She most likely was cleaning the kitchen, about to put bread away when she snapped. The mess that was left, can explain the mental and emotional wreck Minnie was on the inside from her husband.
The jar of busted preserves could be symbolic of Minnie's relationship with her husband. Minnie was often left at home alone while her husband kept her from the outside. She was full of secrets of how she felt towards her husband. The busted jars symbolize that her secrets exploded, leaving one jar intact, which would be her last secret of Minnie killing her husband. The women taking the jar to Minnie was a way of letting Minnie keep her final secret.
Minnie Wright's bird was very symbolic in this play. In a way the bird represented Minnie herself, fluttery and singing, but caged. The bird was all Minnie had to keep her company, and when her husband strangled it's neck, it was the last straw for Minnie. She killed her husband not because of the bird, but for the feeling of captivity she had faced all the years being married to her husband. He had kept her inside like the caged bird, and took away everything she once loved and cared for.
The mentioning of the quilt and whether Minnie was going to knot it or quilt it was symbolic. At the beginning of the play we learn that the way Mr. Wright was strangled was odd and unique. At the end of the play we figure out that Minnie tied the knot as in "knotting her quilt." This is why the phrase pops up a few different times, until we see the full picture and understand what Minnie did.