Trifles Questions and Answers
by Susan Glaspell

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Analyze the character Mrs. Hale in the play Trifles.

Like Minnie Wright, Mrs. Hale is a farmer's wife and has lived a fairly Spartan life on the farm. Mrs. Hale has no name, and Glaspell offers no physical description of the character. Yet the audience comes to understand Mrs. Hale through her dialogue and behavior. She defends Minnie's housekeeping skills, saying, "Farmer's wives have their hands full." Mrs. Hale is the more opinionated of the two women searching the house, and she's the one who finds and hides much of the evidence. In doing so, she displays loyalty to Minnie and great strength of character.

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In the stage directions, Mrs. Hale is introduced as a larger woman than Mrs. Peters and one who "would ordinarily be called more comfortable looking," were it not for the fact that she is looking distinctly uncomfortable with the situation as the play begins. She does not speak when the men are talking and is only moved to say anything when the County Attorney disparages Mrs. Wright's housekeeping, observing stiffly,

There's a great deal of work to be done on a farm.

It is clear that Mrs. Hale's life has revolved around the hard work she has to do as a farmer's wife. During the course of the play, she worries about and regrets her preoccupation with her own house and farm, wishing she had been a more attentive friend and neighbor to Mrs. Wright.

Although Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale end up tacitly agreeing to conceal a murder, it is Mrs. Hale who takes the lead in making this decision. When Mrs. Peters, the wife of a sheriff, asserts that the law must punish crime, Mrs. Hale responds with a...

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