The Concept of Justice in Trifles Essay
Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles is indeed a work of literature that leaves the readers pondering as to the meaning of justice and how the concept of justice to a large extent stands subservient to the social and political ethos of the times in which it is perceived. Discernibly speaking the two female characters in the play does seem to jilt the cause of justice by hiding the substantial evidence that would have led to the establishment of the motive for the murder. However, in a larger context, these two female characters acquit Mrs. Wright by facilitating her space, in which they evaluate her intentions from a female perspective, which is so typically denied to them by the male-dominated society in which they live.
Many aspects of the play tend to be indicative of the fact that the women happened to be utterly marginalized and disempowered in the time and locale in which the play is contrived. For instance, it is indeed ironic to note that most of the time the female characters in the play are identified in relation to their husbands. For instance, all the time they are presented as Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, without bothering to refer to them by their first name. The men in the play had not only confined the women to the domestic aspects of life, but they do not hesitate from trivializing and ridiculing their place as Hale says, “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles (Glaspell, 1916).” In a social and domestic scenario dominated by men, the male characters in the play had already developed a sort of aversion for Mrs. Wright as evinced by County Attorney as he says “Not much of a housekeeper, would you say, ladies (Glaspell, 1916)?” Thereby the perspective from which the men approached this case would have certainly resulted in the conviction of Mrs. Wright. All that they were looking for was but a motive.
However, contrary to the male characters, the female characters in the play approach the character of Mrs. Wright from a feminine perspective, which is imbued with empathy and sympathy. Thereby, they paint a picture of Mrs. Wright that is very human as Mrs. Hale mentions, “She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively when she was Minnie Foster (Glaspell, 1916).” Instead of the superficial concerns of their dominant male counterparts, they contrive a picture of Mrs. Wright which is not only very human and soft but which also largely explains to the readers, the extreme provocation that perhaps forced her to retaliate against the domination and callousness of her husband. Hence, the female characters in the play approach the crime from a female perspective, as per which, justice had aptly been served.
Hence, the craftsmanship of Susan Glaspell lies in conveying how the two female characters in the play render justice to a woman (Mrs. Wright), by evaluating her case from a feminine vantage point, in society and locale dominated by men. No doubt, justice had indeed been served in this play.
Glaspell, S. (1916). Trifles. Retrieved from