‘Trifles’ is a one-act play by Susan Glaspell. It was written in 1916. Glaspell tells a true story about a murder that happened in a small town in Lowa. The narrative revolves around a farmer named John Wright. The man was murdered by a person who strung a rope on his neck when he was sleeping at night. In this paper, the author will provide a summary of this play.
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“Trifles”: A Summary
In the story, the investigating officer explains how the wife of the murdered farmer was acting in a bizarre manner when she was told about the death of her husband. A gun was discovered in the farmhouse where Mr. Wright was living with his wife. It is strange that despite the fact that there was a gun in the house, the killer decided to use a rope to kill Mr. Wright. It could have been easier to use the gun. The investigating officer, Henry Peters, arrives in the farmhouse with the witnesses. The individuals include Mrs. Peters and Mr. and Mrs. Hale. Mr. Hale explains how he visited the family the previous night and discovered the strange behavior of Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Wright explains the death of her husband to the witnesses in a dull and impassionate voice.
Mrs. Wright is described as the central character in the play. However, this lady does not appear on stage. All her activities are described by other actors on the scene. The death of Mr. Wright is a shock to Mr. Hale, who discovers the body after Mrs. Wright. Mr. and Mrs. Hale describe the life of Mr. Wright before marriage as full of happiness. It seems that the sadness characterizing Mr. Wright’s life was provoked by his wife. Mrs. Wright described her activities when her husband was strangled to death. The woman insists that she was asleep when the crime took place.
The other characters seem not to agree with her statement. She is the main suspect in the murder of his husband. She is later taken into custody for further questioning. Men in the room start chatting after Mrs. Wright is taken to custody. The men start by criticizing the role of women in society, based on the poor kitchen arrangement in the farmhouse. The men later exit the crime scene and leave the women in the kitchen, chatting.
The women continued talking to kill time. They pick some details in the kitchen, which the men were unable to detect when they were at the scene. The development shows the different perceptions that men and women have towards things and life in general. The evidence taken by women is not ‘forensic’ in nature. However, it provides clues on how Mrs. Wright used to live with her husband. The women bring out the desperate life of a housewife who did not have children but who found it hard to take care of her home. The cage is empty as a result of the escape or death of the birds. It is said that the bird was strangled by Mr. Wright.
The play shows how men fail to appreciate women. It ends as the women exit the kitchen chatting in low voices and nodding their heads to show how they feel sorry for the death of Mr. Wright.