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"Trifles" is a one-act play by Susan Glaspell, set in the kitchen of the abandoned farmhouse of John Wright. The scene opens to a gloomy kitchen, described as disorderly with signs of unfinished work, reflecting the household's recent abrupt abandonment. The characters introduced are the Sheriff, the County Attorney, and Hale, each representing different aspects of the community and legal system. They arrive at the Wright household to investigate the murder of John Wright, with the suspicion falling on his wife, Mrs. Wright.

As the men search the house for evidence, their focus is on significant legal documents and overt clues that could prove Mrs. Wright's guilt. Meanwhile, two women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, accompany them but are more focused on the kitchen and the trifles within, which the men dismiss as irrelevant. However, these "trifles," such as an unfinished quilt, a broken birdcage, and a dead canary, uncover the motive behind Mr. Wright's murder and reveal the emotional and psychological abuse Mrs. Wright suffered under her husband's tyranny.

Through the examination of seemingly insignificant details, Glaspell critiques the gender biases of the time, highlighting how women's perspectives and experiences are undervalued and overlooked by the male-dominated legal system. The play concludes with the women deciding to hide the evidence they find, which directly points to Mrs. Wright's motive, thus protecting her from the law's inability to understand or value her suffering.


  • Gender Roles and Sexism: The play addresses the societal expectations of women and the undervaluation of their roles and intellect by men.
  • Isolation and Loneliness: Mrs. Wright's isolation, both physical and emotional, is a critical backdrop for the narrative, underscoring the consequences of neglect and lack of understanding.
  • The Power of Silence and the Unspoken: Much of the play's message is conveyed through what is not said and seen in the small details, reflecting the power of minor observations and silent resistance.


  • Sheriff: Represents the law and its conventional approach to investigation.
  • County Attorney: Embodies the legal scrutiny and skepticism towards the domestic sphere's significance.
  • Hale: A neighbor, whose discovery of the crime scene sets the story in motion.
  • Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters: The wives of Hale and the Sheriff, respectively, who uncover the truth through empathy and attention to detail.


"Trifles" by Susan Glaspell leverages a simple domestic setting to unfold a complex narrative on the invisibility of women's lives and contributions in early 20th-century society. The play's title itself symbolizes the dismissal of women's worlds as insignificant or trivial by the patriarchal standards of the time. Yet, it is precisely in these overlooked "trifles" that the truth and depth of human experience lie, offering a critique of societal norms and a call for a more nuanced and empathetic approach to understanding one another.