Was Mrs. Wright's act of murder justified in "A Jury of Her Peers"? Why or why not? And when can murder be justified?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This short story based on Glaspell's play Trifles makes a strong case that Mrs. Wright's murder can be justified.

The women notice many of the small details of the case that the male detectives and police overlook. A key piece of evidence they find is Mrs. Wright's canary. It has been carefully folded into a handkerchief, its neck broken. The women realize that Mr. Wright must have killed it, causing Minnie to finally snap and retaliate against her husband after years of abuse.

The two women, being female themselves, can put themselves into Minnie's shoes. Mrs. Hale knew Minnie when she was a young woman and remembers how vibrant and alive she was. She realizes that Minnie became drained and listless in her life as Mr. Wright's wife. She wishes now that she had visited her old friend more often, understanding that she must have been isolated and miserable.

Mrs. Peters lives in town, but she remembers too what it is like to be isolated on a farm. She remembers, too, a young boy chopping up her kitten with a hatchet when she was a girl and the rage and grief she felt. She understands the desire to hurt someone who hurts or kills an innocent animal.

The two women realized that Minnie was in a desperate, depressed, and isolated situation. She snapped when the one creature she loved was killed by her husband. They therefore don't bring forward the evidence they have discovered that offers a motive for the killing.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial