Read Trifles by Susan Glaspell Online


Trifles is a one-act play by Susan Glaspell. Her short story, "A Jury of Her Peers", was adapted from the play a year after its debut. It was first performed by the Provincetown Players at the Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, Massachusetts on August 8, 1916. In the original play, Glaspell played the role of one of the characters, Mrs. Hale. It is frequently anthologized in ATrifles is a one-act play by Susan Glaspell. Her short story, "A Jury of Her Peers", was adapted from the play a year after its debut. It was first performed by the Provincetown Players at the Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, Massachusetts on August 8, 1916. In the original play, Glaspell played the role of one of the characters, Mrs. Hale. It is frequently anthologized in American literature textbooks. The play begins as the county attorney, the sherrif, Mr. Hale, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale enter the Wright's empty farm house. On prompting from the county attorney, Mr. Hale recounts his visit to the house the previous day, when he found Mrs. Wright behaving strangely and found her husband upstairs with a rope around his neck, dead. Mr. Hale notes that, when he questioned her, Mrs. Wright claimed that she was fast asleep when someone strangled her husband.Often hailed as one of the quintessential feminist plays, 'Trifles' earned Glaspell a Pulitzer Prize and renewed literary recognition....

Title : Trifles
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780887345814
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 20 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Trifles Reviews

  • Bob
    2018-10-29 03:17

    This play is often hailed as an icon for feminist writing in which men often belittle anything associated with women. The men in the play look only for concrete evidence within their limited parameters. On the other hand, the women would consider the emotional and personal aspects of the murder case into account. The women tried to put themselves in the murderer's shoe, so to speak. As such, the women quickly find the motive and evidence of the murder --which was the whole point of the characters' visit to the scene. Meanwhile the men fuss all around the house and fail to find any evidence for the case since their prejudice and lack of respect of women's 'trifles' narrow their views.People usually stop their analysis of the significance of the story there. But, I would argue that the story means much more than that. Trifles shows the whole world of the subtle but real interplay between one's prejudices and the blind spots that they produce, be it in terms of communication skills, social awareness and even international politics. The same message can be applied to the analysis of issues in colonization-decolonization, 'interracial' relations and so many other topics in which power and the trifling of the "other" ones are involved.The play is as relevant today (and even in the future) as in the day it was penned. Whenever groups of people feel so shielded and so right in their own world that they can't empathize with people of different walks of life, they're reenacting the scenes of Trifles.

  • Brad
    2018-11-16 01:36

    A neighbour walks into a home and finds the man of the house sitting on his La-Z-Boy, drinking a beer and staring listlessly into space. She asks him if she can see his wife, and he says she's still in bed. She points out that it's almost evening, and he simply repeats that his wife's in bed. She asks if she can go check on her, and when she gets no answer she heads up stairs to check on the wife. But the wife is dead, obviously strangled, so she leaves the house and calls the police. They come and arrest the man, and later she discovers that the husband and wife's cat is dead -- strangled. Now from the neighbour's perspective, it is clear that the wife was a cold woman, a hard woman, a woman who wasn't fond of company and who kept her husband, a man who couldn't work due to an injury, outside of social company due to her own discomfort. The wife had even gone so far as to cancel the internet because she didn't want him wasting time on social websites when he could be doing something "constructive at home." And finally, possibly, she strangled the husband's cat, which was his only friend, because it continued to scratch at the furniture and destroy the things she worked hard for. So he killed her. I'm guessing there aren't many, under these circumstances, who would think that the man strangling his wife was justified. I am sure there are people who would empathize with his plight, sympathize with him for his situation, even suggest that his punishment should be less due to his circumstances, but I would be shocked if anyone felt his actions were justified. Turn it around, however, make the wife the killer, change the cat to a canary, and set it in a time when the telephone (the social tool disallowed) was newer than the internet, and reactions are very different. A goodly number of people feel that Mrs. Wright's killing of her husband in Susan Glaspell's Trifles is entirely justified. Much of this has to do with the weight of inequality that has amassed for women over the years, but at least some of it has to do with the way we value the lives of humans (in descending order: children, women, men), and a little bit has to do with matter what your feelings may be about the subject.Trifles is a play that I would love to see modernized, but even in its original form it is worth reading and talking about. I need to use it in class again soon.

  • Claudia
    2018-10-22 04:15

    After reading this play I wasn't sure how I felt about it. There was not much happening but at the same time it was full of symbols. The story starts with three men and two women in a house investigating the murder of John Wright and trying to find clues in the house to see if Mrs. Wright was the one who murdered him or if she wasn't. The main idea in the text is that women are clever and help one another, but men can't see that and think women only pay attention to silly things. We find that the evidence is found by women in things men would label as 'trifles'. We find a sexist attitude from men, who think there can't be any evidence of the murder in the kitchen because it's only a place for women. Throughout the play the two women are left in the kitchen while the three men 'work'. As regards the symbols found in the play, we get the bird, which could either be a symbol of Mrs Wright seeming someone she's not (because the two women said she seemed like a bird, but maybe she was actually the cat who kille the bird), or maybe she was actually a bird and her husband killed many of the things she enjoyed doing (like singing) and she killed her husband for revenge. There is also the empty cage, which could be a symbol of freedom now that her husband is dead. Another symbol we get is related to what Mrs Wright was sewing, and how the two women keep saying that they didn't know if she was going 'to quilt it or to knot it', and finally they agree that she was going to knot it. This could be related to the fact that Mrs Wright choked his husband to death with a rope around his neck. I liked how this was a feminist story that gave traits to men and women that are still present nowadays in our society (sisterhood among women and cleverness vs. men thinking women only care about trifles). However, I personally think the story lacked some action, as I finished it and felt as if not much had actually happened.

  • Ellen
    2018-10-28 23:39

    Also written by Glaspell as a short story, "A Jury of her Peers," which I don't like nearly as well. There's a lovely film 1980 film version, which though entitled "A Jury of her Peers," follows the staging and script of the one-act play, Trifles.Glaspell's cleanly-scripted drama, plays on the idea that men and women speak different languages and perceive different realities. In the midst of a murder investigation at a rural farmhouse, the men - seeking the facts, trying to determine the motive - march upstairs to scrutinize the crime scene. Meanwhile, they miss the subtle clues the two women are able to "read" downstairs as they scan the home's "trifles": a partially cleaned table, a oddly sewn bit of stitching, a broken birdcage, etc. The 1916 play remains remarkably fresh and modern.

  • seda
    2018-10-20 22:17

    There are times I come across to a book, a play, a film that was written by women in those old but not so gold times that reflect the womanhood with its struggles, its sweetness and its queerness so profoundly that I'm in awe of their capability, in debt to what they endured to pave this road for us and in gratitude to them reaching for our hands from decades ago.Trifles is one of those. Trifles is a dark feminist tale with its relevancy unwavering since its publication in 1916. Its grasp on the issues women are still suffering from all around the world is slowly unravelling itself as the three women -one absent, two present in the narrative- are finding their own individual voices through the play. Its one particular quality is that it passes Betchel test by landslide though Betchel test & the notion behind it were almost nonexisting during those times.Even so when the conversation between two gender is happening, there is this tenaciousness radiating from women against comments made by men that are sexist -nothing abnormal for that time- instead of displaying quiet acceptance and submissiveness like the norm and furthermore these two "ladies" advocating of woman who is not present against men's ridicule and harsh comments even it is to their dismay. Morever these two particular examples are illustrated in such way that we are able to see why sisterhood is beneficial and essential for all women.It is this remarkable handling of women characters and the issues they face while writing about a very sensitive subject on a groundbreaking level that makes Trifles a timeless classic and and it is one of the instances of Susan Glaspel's proficiency as both writer and a feminist.

  • Tweety
    2018-10-18 00:18

    I'm glad this was short, because I have decided that mysteries written as plays are not my thing. It was well written, however, I found it hard to really get into the tale. Yes, I felt the cold, and I felt to gloom. But as for the characters, I just didn't connect to them. Maybe because we were just told about some of them and never actually met them? Whatever the case, I can't say that I'll ever retread this. The only characters that felt real were Mrs. Peters and the Country Attorney. The mystery wasn't figured out by me till the major clue was found, then it was quite simple. Not a bad play, just not for me.

  • Francesca
    2018-11-07 05:38

    THIS IS EXCELLENT. EXTRAORDINARY. As delicate as poignant, Susan Glaspell constructs a -feminist- detective story as an excuse to discuss a much bigger issue, gender violence (as suffered by our choir singer) and its grandfather sexism (evidenced in the way the males behave towards the two ladies). Written with graceful sensitivity and strong determination, this play deserves more and better attention, and so does its author. We call it - knot it.

  • Vahid
    2018-11-08 04:11

    This play holds a very pungent feminist view. The conflict is a murder case scrutinized by men while ladies accompany them to the crime scene as well . The men , who are generally considered serious and sagacious , keep looking for traces of murderer , while ladies are concerned about trivialities such as house decoration . Interestingly enough , the ladies find out the reason for homicide through their nonsense conversations but since the men consider their mentality ludicrous, they fail to notice the motif. Well , I think this author wrote about feminism in a new light!

  • Kenia Cuellar
    2018-10-29 01:27

    Trifles - Susan GlaspellLoneliness brings desperate measures. While I was reading “Trifles by Susan Glaspell”, I enjoyed the mystery and the suspense the play includes. In the end, what stood up to me the most is thinking on how lonely and misunderstood Mrs. Wright must have felt that led her to murder her husband. I had to pay attention to the year this was written which was 1916 because during those times women in the United States had not been granted the right to vote and also could not sit on juries. Males dominated all aspects of life at this time, except for caring of the home and children. Just as at this period of time, the men in the play consider themselves intellectually superior in their attempt to solve the murder mystery. Because these men are blinded by their superiority, they overlook great clues to find the murderer because they don’t look in the kitchen. The kitchen is where Mrs.Wright and all women would spend most of their time cooking, boiling water to do laundry, heating her iron to do ironing, sitting to do her sewing, and many other things. I liked the irony of how the one place where the men didn’t care to look was actually the pace where the murder could have been solved. I think that Mrs. Wright was kept away for such a long time and she unhappy because she maybe felt misunderstood by her husband, they never had kids and they didn’t even have a telephone. She was not allowed to socialize or even attend functions at church. I feel like the canary. The canary was symbolic of what Mrs. Wright was like before her marriage; happy, singing, wearing colorful clothes, and yet the canary's existence in its cage symbolizes her life since marriage. When he kills the canary, Mrs. Wright goes over the edge emotionally. The broken cage and the sight of the little bird with its broken neck was more than she could bear. She ended her husband's life in the same way he ended the canary's........... and rather in the way he's ended hers, by suffocation. I think that Mrs. Wright felt suffocated by her husband and the kitchen represented the cage where she was kept in and she wanted to be free.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2018-10-31 03:35

    English teachers almost universally use Kate Chopin's short story "The Story of an Hour" (1894) to illlustrate irony. I would like to suggest the lesser known but more interesting play Trifles (1916) by Susan Glaspell. In the one-act play, a Mrs. Wright is suspected of having killed her husband and is being held in the county jail, but there isn't any proof -- or shall we say, not any that a man would notice. While men investigate the bedroom and the other parts of the house, the sheriff's wife and a neighbor woman collect some things for poor Minnie Wright. Time after time, the men condescend to the women and mock them for being concerned with "trifles" -- that is, women's things. But, in point of fact, it's amongst these "trifles" that proof of Mrs. Wright's innocence or guilt lie. The ending is sure to surprise you.Susan Glaspell got the idea for the play after she covered the four-month trial involving a similar case in 1900 when she worked as reporter for Des Moines Daily News. (Glaspell quit her job immediately after the trial, moved to Chicago and turned to fiction.)The text of the play, which is now in the public domain, is available online. The best version (just seven pages) is available from eBook Browse. L.A. Theatre Works has a performance of the play, which takes less than 30 minutes, and it's available on for -- pardon the pun -- a trifle.

  • Phillip
    2018-10-18 23:25

    This play is really short, but it touches on a lot of interesting subjects. Probably number one is the relationship between gender and power in American society, though admittedly in the early 20th century. The smug paternalism of the male characters, and the reconstructed brutality of John Wright stand in stark contrast to the women's reluctance to pass judgment and ability to empathize with Mrs. Wright. The only odd spot is Mrs. Wright herself. Although we are, I think, meant to conclude that she murdered her husband because he killed the canary that was her only companion, the rest of her actions and concerns are unexplained. For instance, her seeming willingness to be caught in the house, her request for an apron and some other household things (though the two women speculate that she simply wants to feel normal). Of course, her absence makes it really difficult to get any understanding of her, and all we have to work from is the two women's speculation.

  • Julie H.
    2018-10-26 03:25

    This one-act play was written in 1916 and is believed to be based on an actual Iowa murder case that Glaspell investigated as a young reporter. Set in a late 19th/early 20th-century agricultural community, the big strong important men investigate the unexplained demise of bully husband John Wright while the female neighbors come to check on the household after Minnie Wright (John's widow) is taken in for questioning. The women's concerns are summarily dismissed by the men, however, using their intuition, women's knowledge and common sense they quickly unravel the so-called mystery behind the death. Patronized, condescended to, and insulted by the men who dismiss their questions and concerns as childish "trifles," the women decide not to share what they have learned.

  • Rachel
    2018-11-01 01:16

    I thought Trifles was a good short and sweet play, a lot happens in it in a brief time. It's like a mini mystery novel that shows how women tend to have a understanding with each other when it comes to marital problems and how men are blind to them. I also love how Minnie, the farmers wife, isn't in the play with dialog, but she feels like the main character and you get to know what she is like and what she went through.

  • Miranda H
    2018-10-16 04:28

    A brilliant, subtle examination of the irony of the male ego and it's ability to minimize the value and validity of women. This play is a timeless classic though unfortunately a bit out-of-reach for my freshmen class. I would suggest it for a more advanced or older group as most of the subtlety and time-specific references went over their heads. I am considering rewriting the play with a modern twist.

  • Andrea
    2018-11-04 05:36

    I love this story because of the feminine undertone. We have men who think that they know everything and woman are just simple and only worry about simple things like "trifles" and can not think as complex as a man. But what the women in the story find out and do it more complex then any of these simple men in the story would ever understand!

  • Iria
    2018-10-31 03:36

    Brillantemente feminista. Non hai peza teatral que me guste máis e poucos finais me satisfacen tanto coma este.

  • Megan Hevener
    2018-10-17 02:14

    This one-act is one of my favorites. The reader does not know who did it until the very end. This will keep students on the edge of their sits while reading it, well that's my hope. Their are different voices within this One-Act. Each character has a distinct dialect that one can hear in their heads. I would read this aloud so I can convey that to the students. This will help students see that voice doesn't just have to do with the way words are combined, but the way they are vocally said that helps convey meaning and emotion. Reading: I would have the students do a probable passage before reading the play. This will help spark interest in the story. In addition, it will help students see if their inferences were correct or not based on how they answered the probable passage. Writing: The students will do a Somebody, Wanted, But, So after reading the play. They will take about 15 minute to complete this, and the students will share their SWBS with the class.

  • Dramapuppy
    2018-11-03 21:18

    Look, I get that this is an important and well-written piece of feminist theatre. But it's just really annoying. Intentionally so, but still. The whole thing is full of that specific type of dramatic irony that just makes you want to slap the characters in the face. Did Glaspell communicate her point effectively? Yes. Do I want to be subjected to it? No.

  • Emma Getz
    2018-11-13 04:14

    I really loved this play. It was extremely interesting from a feminist perspective, whether the ending was justified or not, and perfectly expressed relationships between women and the hardships they endure that leave them with no other support but each other. I would love to see this interpreted in a modern context.

  • Viviana L.
    2018-10-27 22:23

    I love how easy it was to comprehend what was happening while I was reading the drama piece, “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell. It came off to be very interesting to me because we can see that we can kind of put it together like a puzzle. It can be seen as a mystery, because since the beginning all the characters are looking for clues to see who is responsible for Mr. Wright’s murder. There are many turnarounds throughout the play that might cause a bit of confusion but by the end of the play we can basically piece everything together and know what the reasons were for what had happened. In the drama “Trifles” a murderer occurs, and the husband Mr. Wright gets strangled by a rope in his sleep. Apparently so it seems that the wife Mrs. Wright is the one being held responsible for what has happened. The day before the murderer Mr. Hale, a neighbor for the Wrights pays a visit to their house. He greets Mrs. Wright but notices that she behaves very strangely. In the play it states, “Well she looked queer, as if she didn’t know what she was going to do next, and kind of done up.” It also states that she was “kind of pleating at her apron.” These are all signs that something was not right, and of course that is what leads Mr. Hale into finding the dead body of Mr. Wright upstairs. There are people who are investigating the house to see if they find any clues and see if Mrs. Wright is actually the one held accountable for the death. The men who are the attorney and the sheriff are in the kitchen but state that nothing looks important so they move upstairs. The women who are the wife of the sheriff and Mrs. Hale, the neighbor stay downstairs in the kitchen and they do find things that don’t seem right. For example the ruined fruit, bread out of its box, quilt that hasn’t been finished, and half dirty table. The untidiness of the kitchen doesn’t seem right and this is something that the men would have never thought of looking at. From what the story states we can sort of conclude that Mrs. Wright was not living a happy life with Mr. Wright. And the women found this because of the untidiness and that shows a lot about a housewife. It states about Mrs. Wright that “she was kind of like a bird herself, real sweet and pretty.” It also mentions that she was in the choir and that she would always wear a white pretty gown. So we can say that before Minnie Foster married Mr. Wright she lived a happy life, but once she got into the married life it completely changed her, and not in a good way and that is what led her to killing her husband. Throughout the play, while the characters are looking for evidence you can automatically see how the men kind of joke around with the things that the women find. They don’t see it as important things to look at. They are looking more for like evidence such as blood, but that is not what they end up finding at the house. At the end of play the women end up hiding the evidence that may say a lot about what happened. I personally feel like they did this because they had sympathy for Mrs. Wright, they understood what she was going through because it was from a female perspective.

  • Frank Corral
    2018-11-10 03:23

    Trifles by Susan Glaspell is a short story about female prejudice, the women is this story must make a decision that will affect the life of another woman accused of murdering her husband. The Story deals with the murder of Mr. John Wright. The characters include sheriff, County Attorney, Mrs. Hale, and Mrs. Peters. All gathered in the home of the Wright's to discuss Mr. Wright's death. The obvious culprit is his wife, because of her easy access to her husband. the story is not especially complicated or anything but the message behind it is strong. In the story the Male characters are chauvinistic and put the woman down any chance they get, calling the things they found interesting to be "Trifle", the woman in this story are sympathetic with their gender and have definitely don't like how the males are treating them. After they find some extremely important evidence, they decide to keep it a secret and protect Mrs. Wright. The story is great and rather short so its easy to understand however i found it too coincidental that the trained crime fighters are too ignorant in their "macho" ways to look for evidence among Mrs. Wrights personal belonging calling such a thing too Trifle, along with this it is actually very hard to sympathies with the woman in this story especially Mrs. Wright. Shes a murderer, maybe someone could argue that she was mentally exhausted and she couldn't take it living in solitude but i disagree, she is a murdered and is a criminal, it is very possible that she might even be capable of murdering someone else, but because of superficial gender inequality a pair of woman helped an unstable woman stay out of prison.

  • Lauren Elyse
    2018-11-14 02:20

    I can understand why people would either like it or otherwise.a.)It's short.b.)It's short, but not exactly to the point, as in it doesn't blatantly spoon feed you.It's really very subtle, & most of the work is done by the reader. Of course, there's the obvious feminist undertones (I mean, it literally has men telling the woman to "stay in the kitchen" while they make pokes at house keeping & sewing. You almost wait in anticipation for them to ask for a sandwich.), but I personally saw it as a group of men in "authority" falsely assuming not only what's important but who's important. & It's a story about human suppression & what that does to a person, which shouldn't be overlooked.Ironically, it's subtleness is shrouded by some very not-so-subtle factors, but by the end, you're wondering where act 2 is. That's where Glaspell sort of gets you.

  • Hayley Bricker
    2018-11-09 00:39

    For a play, I don't think it was very well-written. Plot was excellent, but I just felt that if I were to watch it on stage, I would be extremely bored because the whole story is mostly static. There is no action to help visualize anything. I would have to listen so closely to the actors to really understand it. But I do love the conclusion that Mrs. Peterson and Mrs. Hale come to, that they are all in this together because the law will speak for none of them.

  • tomwrote
    2018-10-16 02:29

    A short and well crafted play that must have been groundbreaking in its day and is still pertinent today. Both accessible and subtly written, there is a deceptive simplicity to the characters and plot that allows for a range of messages to be smuggled in; not just relating to feminism but also society, justice and prejudice.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2018-10-29 03:37

    I'm not a huge fan of the play format. I believe plays are meant to be viewed on-stage and that that's where the magic happens (I know, that sounds really pretentious). But Susan Glaspell's Trifles is such an odd, disturbingly captivating one that I think it's just as effective in print as it is being performed.

  • Roof Beam Reader (Adam)
    2018-10-30 01:30


  • Pook
    2018-11-15 04:30

    Really love it! The title and its irony, Amazing! ***similar feminism recommend : Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll House"

  • Christina Packard
    2018-10-27 03:19

    A Very Short Play! Written in 1916. I am glad I read it. Free online to read.

  • Emma Kay Krebs
    2018-11-12 03:18

    3.5 stars.

  • David Johnson
    2018-10-27 02:18

    Never has brevity been so impactful. I love this one.