JUSTICE IN TRIFLES 5
IsJustice Served in Trifles by Susan Glaspell
IsJustice Served in Trifles by Susan Glaspell
Social,Cultural and Political Situation
Inthe times of the play write, Justice created a huge moral dilemma.The ideal of justice is that a truly just society is impartial.However, in Susan Glaspell’s era, the male in the society are blindto that is going on in the society, in addition to which, they evenpatronize women. To worsen the matter, the country’s attorney alsoa male figure happens to be the worst example of this. For instance,he is so certain of what the situation is all about that he will notallow or let other characters in the play finish speaking, and worse,neither he nor the other male characters can see the truth in theireyes.
Susanaddresses the current issues in her society, that is, justice,gender, and identity politics. By interweaving this issues, Susanshow in her time they were impossible to separate, for example, thescene at the farmhouse, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters are there as wives,adhering to the societal rules and roles to their husbands. On theother hand in the attempted process of trying to aid another woman,by hiding evidence in her house that might rule against her in courtleading to her imprisonment, they are show as strong stand ofidentity together as women. Thus, women in the play do recognizetheir own life in the suffering of Mrs. Wrights, symbolizing thegrowing awareness to acquire a personal transformation that later inlife would be realized in the surfacing of feminist awareness groups.
Thesetting helps us understand the social, political and cultural plightof women in the society. The setting takes place in “an abandonedand gloomy farmhouse out in the country” (Trifles 399). Thisimmediately gives the reader the notion that the place is a secludedand cold place, reflecting the life of women in this society. Inaddition, they have to put-up with aloof men, as was Mr. Wright, “ahard man and a raw wind that gets to the bone” (Trifles 404).
Justicein Line with Evidence in the Play
Susan’sTrifles is a murder mystery, one where the sleuths hide the evidenceof the crime and in so doing, they held the murderer, and thus,posing the question of duty and justice. For such men as GeorgeHenderson and Henry Peters, the concepts of law and order links toduty and justice. On the other hand Mrs. Hale criticizes the heavymethods employed by men to find justice especially to punish women.On their part women and especially Mrs. Hale criticized the men forapplying heavy handed methods of investigation, and only see truejustice as that that involves the punishment of everyone thatneglects and isolates such women as Mrs. Wright.
Theprotagonist of the play Mrs. Wright gets away with murder because toother characters Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters the sheriff’s wifeconceal evidence that would convict Mrs. Wright for strangling herhusband to death. However, in reference to the historical context ofthe play, women were mistreated and thus, the behavior of the womenis quite justifiable in protecting Mrs. Wright. However, it is nodoubt that the two women behavior was against the law, as Mrs.Henderson may have mentioned, “coming out that what was needed forthe case was a motive something to show anger, or suddenfeeling"(Trifles 1378).
Atthe end of the play, the attorney show further disrespect by jokingabout women’s interest, if Mrs. Wright was going to quilt or knither sewing, he says, “facetiously” in line with stage directions,“Well, Henry, at least we found out that she was not going to quiltit” (Trifles1383). This is a dismissive and ironic attitude,especially because the ladies attention to details has actuallyproved Mrs. Wright did kill her husband, but most importantly is thelack of respect the law portrays towards women. Therefore, if the lawdoes not accord women the respect and fairness they disserve, thenlegality is not a fair criterion in judging Mrs. Wright and Mrs.Peter actions. Instead the measure is whether the women’s actionserved justice?
Iam of the stand that Justice is served by the actions of Mrs. Haleand Mrs. Peters in protecting Mrs. Wrights. This can be justified bythe facts that John Wright did abuse his wife, according to Mrs. Halewho new Minnie before she married John describe her transformationfrom a once active and cheerful to a passive unhappy woman inmarriage. She describes John as “close” (Trifles 1377) showing hewas stingy and prevented Minnie from joining the ladies auxiliary,consequently, contributing to her isolation, sadness and loneliness.
Justiceis served. The law at the time is more reasonable standard to judgewomen’s behavior of the time, since it did not respect or defendwomen’s rights. The killing of the bird symbolizes an end to themany years of emotional abuse submitted to Minnie and other women ofthe time. Therefore, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale action to concealevidence and protect Minnie is to protect her from a chauvinisticsociety that does not treat women as equal to men under the law.
Glaspell,S. (1916). “A hard man and a raw wind that gets to the bone.”In Trifles (Line.404).
Glaspell,S. (1916). “Close”. In Trifles (Line.1377).
Glaspell,S. (1916). "Coming out that what was needed for the case was amotive something to show anger, or sudden feeling"In Trifles (L.1378).
Glaspell,S. (1916). “Well, Henry, at least we found out that she was notgoing to quilt it”. In Trifles (Line.1383).