Play ‘Trifles’ of Glaspell (drama)

From the beginning of the play to the end, it is easy to notice that the main character, around whom the entire plot revolves, Mrs. Wright, is an absent character. Leaving Minnie on the side during the play, pushes us to relate the situation of the protagonist to the role of a woman at the beginning of the century. The female figure plays a secondary role in society. Their mission is to be a wife and mother and take care of their home. They had no voice, they didn’t live their own lives or identity and this is exactly what we can see in Glaspell’s play, Mrs. Wright is accused of murder, but at no time throughout the play does she appear or speak to defend herself. The male characters are those who must decide whether she is guilty or not.

The act of the play is performed on a single stage, the kitchen. The characteristics of the kitchen are very specific. The kitchen is messy, dirty with the dishes in the sink and dirty towels. The woman was the strict keeper of keeping the house clean. The kitchen was the place where they spent most of the time, cooking, washing dishes, ironing, etc. It was a place that should always be clean and organized. But this is not the situation that we see in the play. “Scene: The kitchen in the now abandoned farmhouse of John Wright, a gloomy kitchen, and left without having put in order – unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the breadbox, a dish towel on the table – other signs of uncompleted work” (772). The description is given at the beginning of the play and is a clear symbol of the mental state of the protagonist, Mrs. Wright is sad, in a state of nervousness with all her ideas and thoughts in disarray. The rocking chair is one of the objects with which Glaspell identifies Mrs. Wright. After killing her husband, Minnie sits in the rocking chair, giving the impression that she is calm, comfortable, but the truth is she is not there, she is flying away. It is the way in which she escapes from reality. On the other hand, Minnie sitting in the chair, apparently in calm, is waiting for her fate, she is not running away, she somehow found peace, and she knows that she has a price to pay for her freedom.

The quilt could be one of the most important objects to pay attention to. It represents the life and future of the protagonist. The quilt is not finished, so it somehow symbolizes Minnie’s fate. Her fate is still in the air, it is unclear, just like the unfinished quilt. The female characters put a lot of emphasis on the quilt, as if by seeing it, they could guess what was in Minnie’s mind and they weren’t so far from reality. The broken cage and the dead bird are other symbolic objects that appear in the play. These objects are related to the representation of the woman as a caged bird. Minnie feels trapped in her house like a bird in a cage. In that context, Glapell refers to Minnie’s feelings regarding her marriage, her life with that man. She feels powerless, she feels trapped. But the cage is found broken and without a bird. The cage is broken and Mrs. Wright is finally free.  

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