The Theme Of Justice In Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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The short one-act play Trifles by Susan Glaspell, takes place in the early 1900’s and is loosely based off of the murder case of John Hossack, of which Glaspell covered thoroughly during her time reporting for the Des Moines Daily News (American Literature. N.D.). The play is seen as an early feminist drama emphasizing the closed mindedness of men and the sexism faced by woman of that era (Ozieblo-Rajkowska, 1989) and such themes are the driving force behind the story. The play initially follows George Henderson the county attorney, Henry Peters the local sheriff and Lewis Hale the neighboring farmer as they search for evidence related to John Wright’s death. During their investigation they are quick to dismiss any and everything that is not self-evident leading them to overlook the evidence they seek in the end. Despite the feminist rhetoric being the driving force behind the narrative in Trifles, the most important theme is that of justice, the law and morality in my opinion because under the pretense of empathy for Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Hale and Peters hide incriminating evidence thus becoming accessories to murder and bringing into question the morality of the Glaspell’s motives in writing Trifles.

Susan Keating Glaspell was born on July 1st, 1876 in Davenport, Iowa. She was notably gifted from a young age and actively took part in school, by the age eighteen Glaspell was earning a regular salary writing for a local newspaper, and at the age of 21 she enrolled at Drake
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