How does the stereotyping affect the various relationships within Trifles?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Sheriff Peter's flippant comment that "I suppose anything Mrs. Peters does'll be all right" suggesting that she is not capable of finding or harming any evidence, and Mr. Hale's callous remark,"Well, women are used to worrying over trifles," draw the female characters, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, away from the men physically as the stage directions indicate,

(The two women move a little closer together)

In addition, they are also drawn together psychologically to empathize with the plight of Mrs. Wright. For, this demonstration of lack of understanding on the part of Mr. Hale suggests to Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters that lonely Mrs. Wright has led a life of desperation with the cheerless Mr. Wright. Therefore, when they notice signs of agitation in the stitches of thread made by Mrs. Wright and a strong indication that the Wrights' relationship has been antagonistic as Mrs. Hale discovers the fancy box with the dead songbird, the two women ponder the implications with ambivalent feelings:

The two women sit there not looking at one another, but as if peering into something and at the same time holding back.  When they talk now it is in the manner of feeling their way over strange ground as if afraid of what they are saying, but as if they cannot help saying it.

Perhaps because of the resonance of the men's remarks within their minds, the two women form their own stereotypical reaction to their husbands that is something like this: They are insensitive men and will not understand why Mrs. Wright killed him--he had already killed her.  With this judgment, they perceive no reason for Mrs. Wright to be further punished, and do not reveal the evidence, the "trifle" of the dead bird in a fancy box. 

 

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