Explain the meaning and the significance of five symbols found in the play. 

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator


One of my favorite piece of literature, this play has many symbols. The female characters in the play are referred to by their married names only, signifying how women were considered inferior to men during this period of time. It never occurs to the men that the women could find any real clues to the crime. The farmhouse where Minnie lives with her cruel husband symbolizes Minnie's isolation from the world. She has been cut off from having any friends or even talking with others. The canary is symbolic of beauty and song, something that Minnie has not had since she married her husband. This is why she must kill her husband when he kills her bird; it is the only thing of beauty she had in the world. The birdcage represents Minnie's imprisonment; she has not been allowed any freedom by her husband to go anywhere or do anything. The women in the house also find a piece of quilt that was sewn unevenly by Minnie, symbolizing her frustration with her life and detachment from life. When we see what clues the women find, we know exactly what happened between Minnie and her husband, something the men in the play will never know.