Written by Susan Glaspell, Trifles was based on an actual murder. In Iowa, a wife killed her husband with an axe. The wife argued that she thought he was an intruder. She was convicted; but, in appeal, her sentence was overturned. Glaspell, as a reporter, covered the story. Along with the jury, she went to the scene of the crime, particularly the kitchen. She based her play on this experience. This is an example of an early feminist drama because of the sympathy implied toward the wife of the murder victim.
The setting of the play is the home of the couple involved in a murder. The kitchen of the home is the primary place of the action of the play. The husband was found dead in his bed with a noose around his neck. He had been choked to death. The wife says that she was asleep and did not know anything about the murder. The two ladies involved in the majority of the dialogue are the wives of the sheriff and a neighbor’s wife.
Their men’s minds are clouded by prejudice...
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