Literary Contexts in Plays: Susan Glaspell's "Trifles"

McDaniel, L. Bailey
September 2006
Literary Contexts in Plays: Susan Glaspell's 'Trifles';2006, p1
Literary Criticism
The essay presents a summary and analysis of Susan Glaspell's 1920 play "Trifles." In addition to considering the cultural relevance of the play, its author, her larger body of work, and the real-life incident on which the drama is based, this essay considers the socio-historical components tangential to the play itself. In this one-act play depicting the actual events of a rural Iowa farmwife (Margaret Hossack) and the husband she allegedly murdered in 1900, Glaspell introduces the key themes of gender inequality and the hardships of life in the rural Midwest at the turn of the century. Any final outcome of the murder or a trial is not provided by the play's conclusion; consequently, rather than merely focusing on a legal decision, Glaspell is able to highlight the difficult conditions for women leading up to the crime and the gender hierarchies of its aftermath.


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