How do you explain the title of the play, Trifles and the ways in which this ironic title shapes the play's meaning?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Trifles explores far more than trivial matters as it attempts to show the serious consequences of dismissing the feelings and troubles of individuals. It is the seemingly minor issues - the trifles - that expose the psychological effects that Minnie's life had on her and the outcome is anything but insignificant. 

The title does indeed contribute to the play's meaning as every person can relate to this issue. Overlooked detail, sometimes the minutest indication, can lead to such tragedies as suicide, murder - as in this case- avoidable incidents and life-changing occurrences. The title Trifles is thus already foreshadowing the events that follow. The fact that the title's reference is so subtle is a very clever way to reinforce the importance of NOT ignoring the apparently negligible detail when establishing fact.

Mrs Wright's husband dismissed her opinions, her insecurities and the damaging effect on her personality - at his peril. Now too the men investigating the murder and whether Minnie did in fact murder her husband are overlooking detail that would render this an open and shut case and, furthermore, there would be no mercy shown to Minnie, no consideration of mitigating circumstances.

The irony in the title and throughout the play thus confims the play's real meaning. The fact that this is a short play also reinforces the fact that it does not take much to form conclusions. Each character's involvement and the very presence of the women - who on the face of it have no contribution to make - cleverly draws this play to its inevitable conclusion. The contribution of the title to this play is crucial to the real irony and depth of meaning which Susan Glaspell wanted to share.        

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