Trifles Questions and Answers
by Susan Glaspell

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In Susan Glaspell's play Trifles, what differences between men and women does this play imply?

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Trifles is a play of considerable nuance and it would be foolish to try to extract a single message or moral from it. One of its many meanings, however, is the idea that unquestioned dominance makes the dominant party stupid and lazy. It is irksome to be the oppressed party but at least one has to sharpen one's wits, for intelligence is the only way in which one is likely to be able to gain a temporary advantage.

The principal difference between men and women implied throughout the play is that the men are powerful and have become stupid and lazy. The women have no power except that of intelligence, which allows them to manipulate the men. Intelligence is of more use than power in solving a crime, however. Indeed, the men do not know what they are looking for, since a moment's reflection would tell them that all clues are trifles. It is in the nature of a clue to be trifling, otherwise it would not have been left behind. While the women ingeniously piece together a puzzle from trifles,...

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