Trifles Plot Analysis

Trifles Plot Analysis
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This play is about the murder of John Wright, where the accused is suspected to be his wife Mrs. Wright. Her name was Minnie before marriage and she has been submissive to her husband’s wishes throughout her married life. Although Minnie, her husband, and the action of the murder is not seen in the play, the whole drama is about investigating the cause of murder and the accused, who happens to be Minnie, although all the ladies of the house think her to be innocent. However, the author has given a detailed picture of the kitchen, for the reader to guess the mental and physical condition of Minnie. . ( Trifles—Character Sketch..)

Thesis statement

Minnie is an example of the submissive role of women, as they were considered dumb by the men-folk, although she was a clever woman.

Plot background

Susan Glaspell wrote the one-act play called “Trifles” in the early 1900s, as it depicted the condition of women folk in America, which is surprisingly different from what is seen currently. Gospel has portrayed women as the housekeepers only, while men worked outside their homes, to nurture their families. This was considered the right action by the society as several people thought that it had the biblical sanction, as well. Women were supposed to care for the wishes of their husbands, while house-keeping, cleaning, washing, cooking food, and caring for children at home was the task given to them, as they never complained about the same at any time. Although few women had education during their early life, the same was of no use as they would remain confined to their homes after the marriage. (compare the role of women in society in `Trifles`)

Minnie as slavery housekeeper

Although Mr. hale suggested Minnie for being Mrs. John Wright, the author has presented him as being the person who thinks women to be worthless and dumb. This included his own wife, who did nothing except caring for his wishes and pleasure, without which Hale would not have the comfort of having a warm meal, as he returned from work. He has always considered Minnie to be a slavery housekeeper, while he was the first person to suggest the name of Minnie as the murderer of her husband. Although Minnie has been jailed for the murder, she always wanted to prove her innocence. However, during her married life, she did not enjoy any kind of freedom, as John had killed her mental, physical, and social life, resulting in her negligible interaction with anyone except her husband. The couple, unfortunately, had no children. ( Trifles—Character Sketch..)

Examples of Women submission

Glaspell has clearly shown the disparity of social class between male and female, during that period in America. This is evident in one of the early scenes of the play, where the three main male characters are shown as entering the farmhouse, first, while leaving the accompanying ladies to shiver in the freezing cold outside. As this clearly shows the priority of male needs over those of females, women never thought of this being wrong in any sense as they had mentally and physically submitted to the wishes of their men-folk.

The name of the play, “Trifles” is based on the mockery of women by their husbands, during those times. As Hale has always felt that women have been worrying about small and unnecessary details, which he called trifles; Mr. Hale considered wives of all men doing nothing but cooking food for their husbands, while they would carefully watch out for small details, which may make their men happy. .(compare the role of women in society in `Trifles`)


Minnie Foster, her maiden name may have been suspected of the murder of her husband John Wright by the men in the play, all ladies considered her to be innocent. This clearly shows the tragic lifestyle, which ladies were forced to live, while they would sympathies with their fellow women-folk  However, the irony of the play is the fact that women have never complained about such tragedy in their lives, as they considered it normal, although subconsciously they have the feelings that denounce such lifestyle. (Trifles)


Compare the role of women in society in `Trifles`, retrieved on 13th Oct 2010.

Trifles, Theme,  retrieved on 13th Oct 2010.

Trifles—Character Sketch, Minnie Wright, retrieved on 13th Oct 2010.