I am working on an essay where the question is: Did the women in "Trifles" do the right thing when they concealed the evidence?
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Credibility involves someone being worthy of note or reliable based on their knowledge of a certain subject. I am having a bit of trouble understanding how you will use sympathy and credibility to say that the women should not have concealed evidence...
Because one of the women was the sheriff's wife, some would argue she was obligated because of her husband's position to turn over the evidence that she and Mrs. Hale found; however, this is debatable. Based on the roles of women, perhaps that would have been the right thing for her to do in this time period. Perhaps during any time period this would appear the right thing to do; again, this is up for debate. On the other side of this argument is the fact that Mr. Wright was clearly abusive to Mrs. Wright and he killed her dreams and individuality over the long course of their marriage. He also killed her beloved bird, the only thing that made her happy at the time. Again, though, some would ask if this justifies murder. That is up for the reader to decide!
Both women are highly regarded in the town and would be considered completely credible; however, the sheriff's wife feels more obligated to support her gender because of the way that Mrs. Wright was treated in her marriage; she is not immune to the obstacles facing women during this time period. Also, had the women given the evidence to the men, Mrs. Wright most likely would have faced certain execution.
What is key to the meaning of the play is the understanding of women and their ability (as opposed to the blundering of the men) to discern what precisely happened and find a motive out of "ordinary seeming" objects, such as the bread, the quilt and the cage. Their choice to conceal the evidence at the end of the play seems to be a choice to align themselves as fellow women with Mrs. Wright, recognising how she had suffered under the hand of Mr. Wright and also identifying their own role in not supporting her. Thus, arguably, you could say that they were correct.
The short story version of this play is called "A Jury of her Peers." This title implies that the women, her peers, have examined and weighed the evidence just as a courtroom jury would have. It's true the men will never be able to present an effective case because of their own unwillingness to pay attention to the "trifles," and it's true the women could and perhaps even should have helped them do that. However, these women know something about men and know that a jury of them would no doubt find their "sister" guilty of this crime--without regard to her motives or the provocation which she endured. They took matters into their own hands, yes; however, they did weigh the evidence and make a judgment. This always reminds me of Heck Tate and Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird when they decide to spare Boo Radley from the trial which must occur if they announce him as the killer of Bob Ewell. Neither they nor the women should have taken the law into their own hands; however, I'm always glad they did.
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