Professor David Norman
December 10, 2012
Symbolism Of Trifles
In Susan Glaspell's, "Trifles," symbolism is used to emphasize the meaning of the play. Glaspell writes of a woman who murdered her husband because he was to blame for her cold and lonely life. The women character's in the play, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, solve the murder, while the men, the county attorney and sheriff, wonder about trying to figure it out. Glaspell used symbolism as clues to the murderer's motive that only the women were able to figure out, and in turn kept the motive of the murderer a secret due to the bond of women.
Male domination in 1916, when Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles was written, was the way of life. Men controlled most women and women were not very outspoken during that time period. Mr. Wright in her play was no different from the rest, but Glaspell made him a symbol of all the men in the community. The play opens at the scene of the crime in Minnie Wright's kitchen. Minnie's husband has been murdered, he was found strangled with a rope around his neck. The first three characters who enter the room are the three men involved in the investigation of the murder at hand. The purpose of their visit is to find evidence of motivation of murder, the women, however, are concerned with the appearance of the house, especially the kitchen. The men presume the women to be harmless for a couple of reasons one being. The women are left in the kitchen where, according to the Sheriff, there are “nothing but kitchen things”(Glaspell 1070). His comment was in response to the County Attorney’s question about the Sheriff being “convinced that there was nothing important” in the kitchen “nothing that would point to any motive” (Glaspell 1070).
The word trifle is used once in the play to indicate how the men think of what the women are doing in the kitchen while the men are trying to solve the murder. The women were in the kitchen discussing the fact that Minnie was...