Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 557
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Susan Glaspell’s Trifles is a dramatic play that presents feminism as triumphant over male patriarchy. This is mainly done through the way the characters present their thoughts. This is an analysis of the speeches of characters in a bid to understand the play Glaspell’s play better.

The analysis explores why the speech in the most definitive moment is important, what matters most in the speech, whether it was anticipated, whether the speech gives new insights and meaning to the play and whether it offers any lesson or moral. The most definitive moment in the play is Louis Hale’s statement that “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles” because it is the one that gives the play its title.


Glaspell’s play is based on the dichotomous differences between men and women. It is based on a real-life case in which the author witnessed the murder of John Hossack. She creates a similar scenario in the play in which a man is mysteriously killed. Although the murderer, who happened to be the deceased’s wife, was later released after an appeal, her friends who were also women had the evidence that could convict her yet they hid it. The most definitive idea revolves around men’s assumption that women ‘things’ or ‘issues’ cannot constitute evidence.

As a result, men, who are the investigators, do not enter the women’s spheres such as the kitchen or living room where evidence was actually hidden. The speech in this particular part is important because it brings out the motivations of the characters and also gives the play its title. In the play, Louis Hale belittles women’s ability by dismissing the possibility of any serious evidence that could be collected from the little things that women did, owned, or were involved in. As a result, speech plays an important role in symbolizing how women would triumph in the midst of a male-dominated world.

Symbolism in Trifles

From the seriousness of the matter, it is not expected that even small details would be ignored. This is the reason why educated men who were experts in law and investigations were given the task of knowing who murdered Mr. Wright. Their speech and that of women contrast because while they appear on the scene to fulfill legal obligations, women are there to show solidarity with each other by concealing evidence that could incarcerate Mr. Wright’s wife.

Moreover, from earlier conversations, it was predictable that the men-investigators would dismiss possible leads to evidence. This was illustrated by the sheriff’s dismissal that “Nothing here but kitchen things”. Although the most definitive speech does not necessarily bring out new knowledge, it puts forth a strong lesson or moral. It was earlier learned that Mrs. Wright killed her husband. The lesson learned is that one should not ignore small details and that women can be very strong when united.


Trifles was Susan Glaspell’s play that brought forward differences between men and women that brought about their success or failure. In the play, all the men dismiss women and their world. On the contrary, it is found out that the seemingly useless woman-space is able to conceal the most important information needed by men to make them ‘famous’. This definitive moment in the play is considered to be the part that Mr. Hale asserts that women are known to discuss or delve into petty issues that would not help men.

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