Are there additional reasons why Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters hid Mrs. Wright's motive in Trifles?

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The reason Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters hide the evidence is that they empathize with Mrs. Wright and feel obligated to protect a fellow woman. The women also feel guilty for not helping Mrs. Wright when she needed it the most. They also hide the evidence because they fear the men will dismiss their findings as insignificant "trifles."

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In Susan Glaspell's play Trifles, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover several significant pieces of evidence, which establish Mrs. Wright's motive to kill her husband. While the men are searching the property, both women discover Mrs. Wright's broken birdcage and her deceased canary wrapped inside her sewing box. After finding the dead canary, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters recognize that Mrs. Wright killed her husband out of revenge. They also understand that Mrs. Wright experienced a difficult marriage and was abused by her callous husband. Although the women find evidence that would be used to convict Mrs. Wright in a court of law, they refrain from telling the men about their significant findings and hide the important evidence.

There are several plausible reasons as to why Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters do not inform the men about the evidence they discovered. The women recognize their subservient status and understand that the men would more than likely dismiss their findings as mere "trifles." The sheriff already concluded that there was nothing in the immediate area except "kitchen things," and the county attorney scoffs at their conversation by sarcastically asking, "Well ladies, have you decided whether she was going to quilt it or knot it?"

Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters also sympathize with Mrs. Wright and recognize that she suffered during her marriage. Mrs. Hale remembers when Minnie was a lively, charismatic woman and knows that her husband abused her. Mrs. Peters also sympathizes with Mrs. Wright's lonely, depressing existence and understands what it feels like to have a beloved pet threatened. By empathizing with Mrs. Wright, the women feel an obligation to protect her.

One could also make the argument that guilt motivates the women to hide the evidence. Mrs. Hale regrets not visiting Mrs. Wright to offer her assurance and considers her lack of support a crime. In order to make up for not helping Mrs. Wright when she needed it the most, the women decide to support her by hiding the evidence.

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Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale don't tell their husbands about the evidence they found because they empathize with Mrs. Wright and feel guilty about not intervening before.

Even though the two women are likely not in abusive marriages, it's clear that their interests and opinions aren't as valued by their husbands as those of men. As they look through the Wright house, they see evidence that Minnie was also not valued by her husband. They empathize with her, even when they find evidence showing that she likely killed her husband. It's clear that they recognize signs of her husband's abusive tendencies and empathize with Minnie. They don't want the evidence used against her.

They also feel guilty for not reaching out to her more. She was alone and unhappy, and they recognize signs of the changes in her as they move through the house. This guilt likely also plays a role in their decision to hide the evidence.

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The primary reason that Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters withhold the evidence from the sheriff and the attorney is that they do not want it to be used to subject Mrs. Wright to an even more unjust trial than she will already receive. The women are acting as "a jury of her peers" for Mrs. Wright because the legal system of the time did not allow women to serve on juries. Knowing that the prosecuting attorney and the men on the jury are likely to consider the broken-necked bird as merely a "trifle" without seeing the full meaning behind it, they choose to not reveal the evidence they have found while paying attention to what the men consider "trifles." As women, they can put themselves into Mrs. Wright's shoes and imagine the dreadful emotional and probably physical abuse that she had been subject to. To them the dead bird indicates a sort of defense of Mrs. Wright's actions, whereas to the men the bird would provide merely a motive for the murder; they do not want to turn the evidence over to a system that will not interpret it correctly.

Another reason for their decision to withhold the evidence is their own guilt. Society bears some responsibility for Mrs. Wright's crime, and the women perceive that. Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Wright's neighbor and long-time acquaintance, feels personal responsibility because she could have befriended Mrs. Wright after her marriage and checked in on her frequently. That might have provided a way out of the abusive situation for Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Hale laments, "Oh, I wish I'd come over here once in a while! That was a crime! That was a crime! Who's going to punish that?" Mrs. Hale represents the microcosm of society that failed Mrs. Wright.

Mrs. Peters, the sheriff's wife, who was "married to the law," represents the macrocosm of society that also failed Mrs. Wright. What protection did the law provide for an abused wife? Suppose Mrs. Wright had taken the strangled bird to the police station and told the sheriff that she feared for her safety around Mr. Wright. Would he not have pooh-poohed her fears and considered the dead canary only a "trifle"? Even a hundred years after this play was written, it is difficult for women to find support when their husbands, who present a respectable public face, are abusing them in private. But today there are women's shelters and hotlines. In those days when women did not even have the right to vote, they were nearly powerless. Mrs. Peters, who is evidently moved by Mrs. Hale's expression of guilt, no doubt also shares a sense of responsibility for what Mrs. Wright had been driven to do. 

In addition to their desire to not enable an unjust legal system, the two women withhold evidence because of a sense of personal and societal culpability for the crime.

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