In Trifles, discuss the ways that the idea that Minnie, the “oppressed” person is a willing victim in the play.I am contrasting this to how Nora played the opressed person in the play "A Doll...

In Trifles, discuss the ways that the idea that Minnie, the “oppressed” person is a willing victim in the play.

I am contrasting this to how Nora played the opressed person in the play "A Doll House" by Ibsen. I am trying to form a thesis statement that includes the two.

Asked on by cbmills

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would have to take issue with your idea of Minnie being a "willing" victim in this excellent play. I think one of the major points about this play and A Doll's House is that both plays try to present the position of women in a patriarchal society and how it makes them suffer. Whilst of course both Minnie and Nora get out by one way or another, we cannot underestimate the profundity of their actions. What Nora did in Ibsen's play was incredibly rare, and of course, Minnie, in killing her husband, chose a rather unorthodox escape route, perhaps because she recognised that she had no other chance to escape. Whilst we can see that Nora plays along with her husband's ideas and thoughts, the play is a gradual realisation of how she is trapped inside a doll's house of her husbands making, whereas Minnie in Trifles has in some ways a much harsher reality. It would be worth your while to go back over this play and consider how her husband is described, in particular by the other women who piece together the "trifles" that give us the motive. Note how Mrs. Hale describes him:

But he was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the time of day with him. (Shivers) Like a raw wind that gets to the bone.

What is hinted at, especially with the dead bird, is that John Wright was physically, psychologically and mentally abusive, and kept his wife in a kind of prison. There is no sense that she was a willing victim because that was the role society had cut out for her. Of course, her only escape was to kill her husband.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The only way in which Minnie could have been a willing victim is either a) she suffers from Stockholm syndrome,  b) she suffers from battered woman syndrome, or c) she is a masochist.  For the first option, this is viable since she was basically held hostage in her own home, but it is not valid because I am sure she is not in love or was never in love with her husband when he turned abusive. The second option is more valid because the battered wife syndrome involves the fear of living, the dim light of hope that things will work out, and the eventual snap which is what she went through.

Other than for psychological reasons that involve co-dependency, fear, uncertainty, and denial, there is no other way a woman of any background would opt to remain in an abusive situation unless pain is their comfort zone.

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