Susan Glaspell based her play “Trifles” on a true story that she was inspired by. On December 2, 1900, John Hossack a farmer who was married to Margaret Hossack. He was murdered with an axe while sleeping in bed with his wife. She was accused of killing her husband she was getting life in prison. But a year later of her getting sentenced she was released because there was not enough evidence for her to be kept in jail and she never confessed.
In the 1900’s women had a problem with gender roles in a society that were more on the men side. Women were looked down on by men. In Susan’s Glaspell’s play you realize how the men treat the women while investigating the crime, that what the two women are saying or doing really isn’t that important in comparison to the real work they have to do. The men at that era felt as men they needed to take charge because that is their responsibility to what needs to be done and how to go about the discovering the truth about the crime that happened.
The women were there to cater to their husbands and were knowing as “Husband wives” instead of their own person. In the play it also shows a little bit about law and justice. When the play was published women in the state of Iowa were Susan Glaspell was born, women were not allowed to vote or serve on juries.
Susan Glaspell’s shows in the play that women are smarter then men.
She gives a very strong outlook on women’s that their just not housewives or stay at homes, they are more than that. The two women find evidence and decide to hide it because they think the murder was justified. Now in our time that’s a really big crime you can get in trouble for hiding evidence to save someone. Back then the law was not as strict on how it is now. Mrs. Peters was married to a sheriff which made her hiding the evidence she found much easier because her husband would not think she would do something like that “No. Mrs. Peters doesn’t need supervising. For that matter, a sheriff’s wife is married to the law” (Trifles,574). In this era women were always going along with what men said even if they did not agree with it. The me at this time felt that women shouldn’t have the right to vote or have a say in anything expect when it came to the inside of the home as far as cooking, cleaning, sewing and taking care of the children.
The men and the women have different outlooks, sympathies and insights on the crime. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. peters sympathies with Mrs. Wright. Now Mrs. Peters continues to bring up the fact that the men are only doing their job and that the law will determine Mrs. Wright\’s punishment. “I know what stillness is. The law has got to punish crime Mrs. Hale.” (Trifles, 574). Mrs. Hale, on the other side, does not like how the men are looking around and judging Mrs. Wrights kitchen and She also feels guilty about not being around the Wright\’s farmhouse more often. “But I tell you what I do wish, Mrs. Peters. I wish I had come over sometimes when she was here” (Trifles ,572). Mrs. Peters eventually hears out Mrs. hale and empathizes with what she was saying about Mrs. Wright. She hides the evidence her and Mrs. hale found on Mrs. wright confirming she killed her husband. The men on the other hand have no sympathy for Mrs. Wright they had no desire and speaking to her to find out what was going on between her and her husband. They men see it as how can someone sleeping with their husband in bed not see or feel someone knotting a rope around their husbands’ neck. They automatically thought she was guilty. Mr. hale explained that she looked fed up and not bothered that her husband was dead. “well, she looked queer” (Trifles,566). “Well, as she if she didn’t know what she was going to do next. And kind of done up” (Trifles,566).
The men look at things in a different perspective and miss the major points in the investigation crime because of their lack of female point of view. You noticed when the men enter the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wrights they right away have something to say on how the home is looking, instead of seeing on how their wives’ women were looking at things. If they had involved the women more and worked together with them they would have been able to tell there was more to the story. Instead they look passed the women being any help, they let the women look around as they pleased without them knowing the women basically had solved the murder Mr. Wright, the whole time the men were upstairs investigating the bedroom were Mr. Wright was murdered and at the barn. In this play it showing us how women pay attention to the little things and are careful about every detail, the women stuck together in the play that’s showing women’s movement for helping and standing up for each other. The men even belittled the women for some of the little things they had found because of them being women.
The women felt if they told their husbands they solved the crime, the men would take credit for their work. Throughout history the women’s roles were to obey and respect their husbands. The men in the play feel that the women are not good thinkers, this made the women in the play not tell their husband’s what they found and better yet it was a way of the women showing their loyalty to their gender. It made the women feel good that they solved the murder and the men did not. The men di not considerate the hard work the women do on a daily. They gave women little credit for the stuff they have done and treated them more as a possession.
There were some symbols in the play “Trifles” that were very meaningful that I didn’t pay attention to. For example, if you noticed the play is told in the kitchen not in the bedroom were Mr. wright was murdered. Its showing more of the women’s domain which was not likely in the 19th century it was about men. “I hear she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie foster” (Trifles,569). This quote from the play is giving you an image on how Mr. Wright changed Mrs. Wright she was not the same when she got with him and how alive she was by herself before being with. The bird symbolized Mrs. Wrights personality and spirit, how it was put out and killed. The missed stitches of the quilt symbolized her emotional state of mind after the bird was killed “look at the sewing! All the rest of it has been so nice and even. And look at this! Its all over the place! Why it looks as if she didn’t know what she was about! I’ll finish up this end. What do you suppose she was so nervous about?” (Trifles,571). The title “Trifles” symbolizes something of little importance or value, which in the play it shows the men’s view toward the women were. Lastly, the bird the cage represents Mrs. wright, felt caged in her own home left alone and isolated from everyone.
In conclusion, the play written by Susan Glaspell called “Trifles” was to show the different gender roles and how the men didn’t appreciate the women in that era and seen looked down on. It showed women are actually useful not just for house work being housewives. It showed how men considered women’s duties and their opinions to be not important compared to what men have to do. In the play the men mock the women and it’s the women who solve the murder, Susan Glaspell hints that the men indeed need the women in many ways.