“Trifles” written by Susan Glaspell in 1916 is a play based off of a true story that takes place in the Midwest. A farmer named John Wright is strangled to death in his sleep, and his wife Mrs. Wright is the main suspect in the investigation. The play, which was written before the women’s suffrage movement, depicts the way in which women were treated differently during that time period. When two women who are on the scene find potential motives for the murder, they suggest to each other Mr. Wright was a cold husband who may have been aggressive towards Mrs. Wright. Throughout the performance we watched the wife of the town sheriff, Mrs. peters, and Mrs. Wright’s neighbor, Mrs. Hale, hide the evidence they found that could prove Mrs. Wright guilty so they can save her from the consequences.
One significant theme throughout this play is the presence of gender roles. During the time period in which “Trifles” was set, women’s work was in the household and the specifically in the kitchen, which makes sense because that’s the room where the entire play occurs. A wife’s obligations were cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.. When Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover a dead canary that has been rung by the neck buried deep in Mrs. Wright’s sewing basket, they hide the evidence in hopes of keeping it a secret. The two women discuss what life would have been like as Mrs. Wright. It was brought up a good amount of times through the performance that Mrs. Wright did not have kids. A life on a farm, without kids, and a working husband could understandably become very boring and routine. But when confronted about what life would have been like for her by the attorney, Mr. Henderson, Mrs. Hale tried to expand on how much she liked Mrs. Wright trying to make her seem like able. The attorney however does not even think to question what they found and what the may have hidden in the basket filled with quilt patterns. This is a situation where he does not acknowledge the intelligence of women in their workspaces. Because women were expected to keep to themselves in the kitchen, nothing bad was to be expected by leaving the two women in the kitchen.
I really did enjoy this performance that was put on by Mr. and Mrs. Wann. I thought the actors did a very good job and their acting skills helped display the importance of gender roles in the play. Obviously by seeing the end it was clear that because of those roles, it affected how the trial would end. In that case they broke the law to look out for a women who I believe, murdered her husband.