At a Glance

  • Minnie Wright, who suffered years of abuse before killing her husband John Wright.
  • George Henderson, the county attorney who will prosecute Minnie for murder.
  • Sheriff Henry Peters, who heads up the investigation into John's murder.
  • Lewis Hale, the neighbor who found John Wright dead.
  • Mrs. Hale, Lewis Hale's wife, empathizes with Minnie and conceals the evidence of Minnie's crime.
  • Mrs. Peters, the sheriff's wife, who helps Mrs. Hale hide the evidence.


(Drama for Students)

Lewis Hale
Lewis Hale is a farmer and neighbor of the Wright family. A straightforward, honest man, Hale is a bit rough around the edges from the harsh life of a rural farmer.

Hale was the first to discover John’s murder when he stopped by the Wright’s farmhouse to interest them in sharing a telephone line. He is slow to judgment and hesitant to suggest that Minnie may have been involved somehow.

Mrs. Hale
Mrs. Hale is the wife of Lewis. At first timid, she eventually commits what she thinks is a justifi- able crime: a conspiracy to conceal evidence from a murder investigation.

Mrs. Hale accompanies her husband to the crime scene to gather items for the imprisoned Minnie. As the men search the house for clues, however, Mrs. Hale gets frustrated with their patronizing attitude; she understands and empathizes with Minnie’s isolation and alienation. In their youth, she was friends with Minnie, who was then a vivacious and interesting girl. She knew Minnie was isolated and probably lonely after her marriage; moreover, she noticed her change into a drab, quiet woman as the years passed.

Of the two women in the play, Mrs. Hale seems to be the more observant and more prone to action. It is she who notices most of the clues first—the bread left outside the box, the hasty quilt stitching, and the dead canary in Mrs. Wright’s sewing kit. She is the one who suggests that John was an unhappy,...

(The entire section is 576 words.)