What is the significance of the birdcage and the dead bird in the play Trifles? Why do Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters respond so strongly to them?

The birdcage and dead canary in Trifles are significant pieces of evidence, which point to Mrs. Wright's motive to kill her husband. The canary also symbolically represents Mrs. Wright and the birdcage symbolizes her oppressive marriage. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters respond strongly to these pieces of evidence because they sympathize with Mrs. Wright's difficult and potentially-abusive experience.

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In Susan Glaspell's play Trifles, the sheriff, county attorney, and neighboring farmer arrive at the Wright homestead to investigate the murder of Mr. Wright. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters tag along to collect Mrs. Wright's possessions and notice several significant pieces of evidence in the kitchen while the men investigate the upstairs and barn. Although the men arrogantly dismiss the women's findings as useless trifles, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover relevant evidence, which illustrates Mrs. Wright's motive to kill her abusive husband. This evidence could be used in court against Mrs. Wright and result in her conviction.

The women notice that Mrs. Wright left her bread outside the box and that her table is not clean. Mrs. Hale then takes note of Mrs. Wright's erratic stitching in her quilt and Mrs. Peters discovers a broken bird cage. The women also find Mrs. Wright's deceased canary inside her sewing box and they realize that her husband killed her prized possession. The deceased canary symbolically represents Mrs. Wright, who suffered during her marriage. Similar to the dead canary, Mrs. Wright's lively, upbeat personality was suffocated. The women sympathize with her oppressed existence and understand what it is like to live on a lonely, desolate homestead. Mrs. Peters also knows how it feels to have a beloved pet threatened by a hostile individual. Although the women acknowledge that Mrs. Wright did kill her husband, they sympathize with her difficult experience and hide the valuable evidence. The audience shares Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters's feelings by pitying Mrs. Wright, who did not deserve to be abused by her cruel husband. However, the audience does acknowledge that murder is never justified and Mrs. Wright should be punished for her actions.

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