It is possible to view Rose as a long-suffering wife who, as the previous educator mentioned, is a complementary and "countervailing force to Troy's own sense of destruction." It is also possible to view her as an extraordinarily generous and selfless woman. I suspect that Wilson wants us to see Rose in this way, which may be part of the reason for his choice of a name: a rose is beautiful and perennial, enduring over time. On the other hand, Troy, like the ancient kingdom that is his namesake, has been defeated and is nostalgic for his former greatness.
His belief in his own greatness, in addition to his entitlement as a man, leads him to behave selfishly toward his wife. In the heated exchange over his mistress Roberta's pregnancy, he expresses an entitlement to a comfort and ease with Roberta that he does not experience at home. Rose counters that she wanted such experiences, too, but channeled those longings back into her family.
Wilson's depiction of their relationship clearly casts judgment on Troy whose disregard for Rose makes him a difficult figure with whom to sympathize. On the other hand, her pain and humiliation are more accessible to the audience. Wilson's portrayal of Rose is emblematic of the condition of many black women in their time, women who not only could not get respect in a society dominated by white males, but could not get respect in their own homes. She suffers as much as Troy due to economic and social limitations, but, unlike him, finds solace in institutions in which she can participate fully: her family and her church.
She encourages Troy to work within the contingencies of his life and to deal with what is so, a behavior that is demonstrated in her reminders to him to complete the fence—a duty he continually puts off in order to self-indulge.