Aristotle presents that the plot of the story is the most important aspect and should include an organized model that offers a logical flow of the sequence of the events. The plot of the play Trifles is arranged consistently as the play starts with a scene that introduces the primary characters and the events that are taking place revolving around a murder. The plot thickens as Mr. Hale the court attorney investigates the murder of Mr. Wright. The men search for clues upstairs in order to resolve the murder. However, the women find some clues in the kitchen, I form of a dead bird, which makes them believe that Mrs. Wright killed her husband. They identify that she killed him due to being abused, but they hid the important piece of evidence from their husbands to help Minnie.
The primary characters introduced in the play to the developing theme of feminism are Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Minnie Wright and Mrs. Hale in supporting capacity. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale aid in the investigation towards the murder of John Wright in his home. The county attorney and the sheriff disregard the kitchen as the women’s place hence lack to conduct a search, which is performed by Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale. Mrs. Peters finds a dead canary hidden in Minnie’s basket and strangled the same way John was choked. However, Mrs. Peters sympathizes with the poor treatment Minnie suffered at the hands of John hence neglecting to inform the Sheriff of the findings and Minnie’s involvement in the murder (Burch, 2018). Mrs. Peters seeks to spare Minnie’s life by offering a renewal of Minnie’s spirit as she may now engage in music, which was denied once she married John. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale possess emotion and thought to result in lack of presenting of the evidence and offering Minnie her long lost freedom.
The author emphasizes on the societal gender roles presented in the society whereby women are considered lesser to men and assigned to the kitchen as illustrated by the sheriff’s decline to search the kitchen referred to as ‘women’s trifles’ (Real, 2018). The gender role assignment contributes to the development of a strong sense of community among women tailored towards protecting each other and promoting each other’s well-being as illustrated in the case of Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale concealing murder evidence against Minnie. The multiple themes in the play offer insight into early day feminism.
The choice of words for the play is strategic with verbal expression being related to thought as illustrated in Mrs. Peters sympathy towards Minnie, which elicits feelings of guilt for not checking up on Minnie more often (Real, 2018). The choice of language introduces different colloquialisms as illustrated by interaction among men and women and the definition of the assigned gender roles.
The play did not include any music as the transcripts do not indicate music written by the author. The lack of music may have been attributed to the nature of a one-scene construct adopted by the play.
The visual elements included in the play such as the scenery and customs complemented each other. Equally, the props used in the play contributed to a better understanding of the presented constructs resulting in effective supplementing of each other concerning the elements.
Historical Context of Play
The play was produced in 1916 and first shown to audiences on 8 August 1916 (Burch, 2018). The first production involved Susan Glaspell as the writer and was performed at the Provincetown Players theatre in Provincetown Massachusetts. The play was well-received by the audiences as it inferred to a previous murder that occurred a few years back.
Conventions of Time Period
The play incorporated some conventions including deviation in the lighting across different scenes, which was used to highlight the nature of the context at the period. The convention has been used in modern theatre production as it offers a sense of mystique and promotes the audience’s cognition concerning the information provided and the changing scenes (Real, 2018). Therefore, the use of varied lighting is a primary convention adopted in the play, which is crucial in modern day theatre.
The architecture of Theatre Space
Scenery and lighting were crucial aspects of theatre architecture and design during the period. The play used a proscenium stage that refers to the normal theatre setting including the audience and the actors on a raised platform. The scene was instrumental in ensuring that all the audience were able to see the proceedings and follow the plot of the story (Burch, 2018). The use of varied lighting aided in the understanding of character change and emotions in the play.
Costumes, Make-up, and Sets
The costumes used in the play comprised of the dressing codes adopted by men and women during the period. The women wore ankle-length dresses paired with fur scarves and hats due to the freezing temperatures depicted by the play (Real, 2018). Equally, the men wore suits paired with a trench coat and a hat as was customary dressing during the period. Limited make-up would have been used at the time due to the nature of the different scenes presented.
The relevance of Play in Modern Society
The play presented a theme that directly relates to modern society. The feminism theme developing from the plot is relevant to the current day context as women are continually fighting for equal rights in the community (Burch, 2018). The theme is universal and applicable to present day society whereby women are mistreated in comparison to men in various factors including the provision of equal pay. Therefore, the nature, theme, and plot of the play contribute to modern social issues including the incidence of domestic violence and the promotion of feminism.
History of the Play
The play has been instrumental in the introduction of feminism and domestic violence in the emotional aspect of society. Real (2018) presents that the play explores the nature of feminism using the bird analogy that shows the women as caged. Equally, Burch (2018) indicates that the play offers a historical connotation of the abuse of women in the marriage context.
Critical Thinking/ Discussion Question
Does feminism contribute to consideration of the man as an enemy to women liberation?
Biography of Playwright
Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) was a journalist, novelist, and playwright (Salvatori, 2017). The success of Glaspell’s plays resulted in the founding of the Princetown Players theatre along with her husband (Burch, 2018). The theatre incorporated new aspects resulting in consideration as the first modern theatre. Glaspell’s skills result in the writing of fifteen plays and nine novels.
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References Burch, M. (2018). “The Relevance of Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors in the 21st Century”. Interview with Glaspell scholar Cheryl Black. Miranda. Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde anglophone/Multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on the English-speaking world, (16). Real, N. H. (2018). "Woman on Trial": Gender and the Accused Woman in Plays from Ancient Greece to the Contemporary Stage. Amelia Howe Kritzer and Miriam López Rodríguez Editors. Revista de Estudios Norteamericanos, (21). Salvatori, Q. L. (2017). A Review of the Exhibition “Susan Glaspell (1876-1948): pionera del teatro experimental. Trifles, los Provincetown Players y el teatro de vanguardia”(“Susan Glaspell (1876-1948): The Pioneer of Experimental Theatre. Trifles, the Provincetown Players and the Avant-garde Theatre”). Celebrating Susan Glaspell and Trifles in Spain. Miranda. Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde anglophone/Multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on the English-speaking world, (14).