Trifles by Susan Glaspell

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Trifles by Susan Glaspell


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Trifles by Susan Glaspell

The meaning of the title trifles refer to the clues used by the women to solve the case and to those things that men tend to miss because they relate to them as being womanly. The word trifles itself means things of less importance and is derived from Hale’s line ‘well, women are used to worrying about trifles’ (132).

The Sheriff and the County Attorney belittles towards the women; they believe that the issues that they tend to care are of great importance than the issues cared for by the women. The women are seen as inferior to men. The thoughts of the women are regarded as being cute and they are not taken with seriousness. According to the play, it is evident that the women were already used in such treatment and used to defend themselves due to their inferiority. Through Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, we learn about the unhappy marriage of the Wrights. We get to learn that the women are positioned as inferiors in the earlier 20th century.

Susan Glaspell uses the setting of the Trifles artistically to convey the meaning of the play, she incorporates simple elements in the attempt to solve the murder mystery. She begins by the establishment of the general elements to which establish the ideals and values of the characters as well as attitudes as the play progresses, providing deeper meaning to the particular piece of literature. The time periods used affect the values of the characters as the play is set at a time when the women were treated as inferior. The seasonal setting of the winter as well as the lonely farm provides atmosphere of coldness to the play settings and stages as well as to the characters attitudes. Finally the stage setting of the kitchen sets the stage for the unravelling of the murder mystery to which the characters are trying to solve. All the settings in the play attribute effectively to the Nebraska setting especially the weather and time settings.

We can infer from the widely stitched block of Minnie’s quilt to resemble her anger or the nervousness that she was feeling at the moment when she was sewing. Mrs. Hale rips out the stitching as she thought it would be used as evidence against her showing that she was mentally unstable at the time of sewing.

The birdcage represents how Mrs. Wright as she is trapped in her marriage to which she could not escape the door is broken representing her broken marriage allowing her to become a free woman. The bird refers to Mrs. Wright who is regarded as lovely but shy. About the play, the birdcage entails the Wrights marriage, and the breaking involves the death of Mr. Wright giving Mrs. Wright the motivation of freedom out of her marriage. The broken cage could be used as inference but the sheriff does not seem to notice something.

From the play, we get to learn that Mrs. Wright killed her husband and that she is a nervous woman who could be easily get betrayed by her actions. In the case of Mr. Wright, just like other men we expect him oppress Mrs. Wright in the marriage relationship as we are told that their relationship was not peaceful. The details from the play tells us that Mrs. Wright wanted to get out of the marriage but she could not, and that why she killed her husband to regain freedom. Mrs. Peters, being the sheriff’s wife does not sound much of a rebel, she demonstrates her loyalty as a law-abiding wife to the sheriff by stating that, ‘the law is law’ on page 814. And at one point she defended the fact that the men were performing their duties when they were parading in the kitchen. Although she is loyal to the sheriff, she is torn between her growing understanding and sympathy for Mrs. Wright and thus could not reveal the truth.

There are signs of alliance when all the women made eye contact towards the end of the play, this is when they were trying to hide the canary, and there is also a sign of alliance when the women moved closer together at the beginning of the play.

The major theme of this play Trifle is: To not underestimate women. I agree with the critic that the play is a lousy mystery, all the actions had taken place before the curtain went up. Mr. Wright had already been killed before the play started and there is not much reason to sit through the rest of the play as it involves only the search of evidence of murder to which still was a mystery to the investigators. In addition all the action takes place in the kitchen.

The Hamlet by Shakespeare

Conflict is essential for drama, the inward conflict demonstrated by Hamlet include the contemplation for suicide due to the dilemma caused by the ghost in the vengeance of his father’s death. In the demonstration for the outward conflict, Hamlet doesn’t feel that the passive revenge by way of his mother’s conscience is effective enough or suits her offense, he, therefore, takes the matter into his own hands and confronts his mother.

The transformation of Hamlet from a hapless person who was in despair into a determined and a confident man is revealed through the soliloquies that are a reflection of Hamlet’s experiences of self-realization. The soliloquies reveal that Hamlet is virtuous, though quite indecisive. The characteristics are explored via the various ways to which he used to insult himself for not acting on his beliefs as well as his constant need to reassure himself that whatever he did was correct.

In the play Hamlet, Hamlet is primarily a tragedy of revenge in the sense that he starts the revenge of his father’s death. He plots to kill Claudius, in the process of the revenge strategy, he leads to the final classically tragic image of the room full of dead bodies.

Hamlet’s relationship with his mother Gertrude can be described as being intimate, just like that of a mother and son. The relationship, however, was destroyed by her sudden marriage to Claudius to which he saw as fornication as Claudius was his father’s brother. Despite this and hamlet’s conclusion to kill Claudius in the revenge of his father’s death, he does not want to injure his mother as he still loves her.

The setting of the Hamlet by Shakespeare in Denmark is a good choice. Since the important port of Elsinore provided the appropriate as well as the convenient locations for the sentinels, whose sight the ghost of Hamlet’s father to be the guard and for the arrivals of Hamlet from Germany, Fortinbras from Norway and the ambassadors from England and the departure of Laertes to France and Hamlet to England.

Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius and a sister to Laertes; she happens to be Hamlets love interest. In the position of revenge, Ophelia is forced to choose between her blood relatives and her soul as the father and brother warned her that Hamlet’s intentions were purely sexual, and through her inexperience and youth she chooses, her relatives. Ophelia truly loved Hamlet as she claimed that her love was pure. Due to her obedient nature, she decides to listen to his father betraying her love for Hamlet, although Hamlet had already lost the trust in women since his mother got married to Claudius.

Macbeth and Claudius have had a lot of similarities in that for one, neither would be the rightful owner of the throne, the reason behind being that they both killed their kings to take their position although they were not deemed to be the king. The motive behind the killing of their king is due to the greed for power to which they are both dedicated to killing more souls to maintain their position. Both Macbeth and Claudius arouse increased suspicions from the people around them until friction sparks leading to the eventual doom.

Hamlet and Horatio are both good friends, they also students and classmates. Apart from being good friends, the two are loyal to one another, and they could sacrifice their lives for the other. Horatio almost took the poison to accompany Hamlet in the next world. However, despite having several similar characters, the two differ in the sense that Hamlet is quicker to react and this explains the reason as to why he has so many tragedies, on the other hand, Horatio takes time to make his decisions logically.

Hamlets main motivation was to kill his uncle to revenge his father’s death, but he never did it when he had the chance, this was when the king was praying, but he thought of a different way of the revenge. As his main motivation was to kill his uncle, he lost control of himself where he got killed together with the rest. Hamlets remarks were true to the point that his madness killed him and his friend Ophelia also died as a result of the madness. It is therefore evident that his folly cost his life as well due to lack of proper decision making.

Fortinbras is a young Norwegian prince in the play Hamlet; he has been featured as a foil for Hamlet, the prince of Denmark. Both Hamlet and Fortinbras lost their fathers to untimely deaths, to which King Hamlet killed Fortinbras’ father, and Claudius killed King Hamlet. Both of them have vowed to take revenge on their fathers’ deaths, but the difference only appears in the manner to which they get to revenge to which eventually leads to the death of Hamlet.


Glaspell, S. (2010). Trifles. Baker’s Plays.

Shakespeare, W. (2015). Hamlet. Krill Press via PublishDrive.

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