Limitations of Women In the play Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell, the roles of women and men are displayed accurately to the time period in which the play was written. This play was written in 1916 and at this time in the United States women could not even vote. Glaspell ?focuses on the death of an oppressive husband at the hands of his emotionally abused wife in an isolated and remote farm in the Midwest? (Russell 1). She demonstrates the difference between genders by showing the jobs, tasks, actions, and decision making rights of each. It is evident that men?s and women?s roles are displayed very differently in Trifles. The general plot of this play revolves around the murder of Mr. Wright and finding out who murdered him; however, the underlying focus of the play is on the limitations that women faced and the control and power that men had over women.
The story takes place the day after the discovery of Mr. Wright?s death. Mr. Wright was discovered dead when Hale stopped at the Wright?s house one day on his way ?to town with a load of potatoes? (Glaspell 952). He only stopped because he wanted ?to see if John Wright? would ?go in on a party telephone? with him (Glaspell 952). This was not the first time that Hale had discussed this idea with John Wright but Hale wanted to talk ?about it before his wife? (Glaspell 952). At this point in the play Hale tells Harry that he ?didn?t know? if ?what his wife wanted made much a difference to? him (Glaspell 952). This is the first sign that women held subservient roles and that women?s feelings were worthless. From this point on it is very interesting to observe the men?s and women?s actions.