Student Question

In Trifles, compare Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Peters. Who evolved most in the play?

Quick answer:

In Trifles, Mrs. Wright, who does not appear onstage, is an isolated, withdrawn married woman who has apparently killed her husband. A longtime resident of the community, before her marriage, she was cheerful and energetic. Mrs. Peters has recently moved to the town with her husband, and her past experiences living in a remote rural area help her develop empathy for Mrs. Wright.

Expert Answers

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In Trifles, Minnie Wright is a very important character but never actually appears onstage. She is central to the plot because she is suspected of killing her husband, who was found dead in the bedroom of their farmhouse. Mrs. Peters—whose first name is not given—is among the characters who seek clues to John Wright’s death. A similarity between the women is that both of them were married, and both couples had lived in rural areas at some distance from town. This experience gave Mrs. Peters some practical knowledge, of things such as canning and quilting, that helps her understand Mrs. Wright’s activities. Even more important, having lived in an isolated place helps Mrs. Peters develop empathy for what Mrs. Wright was probably going through. She is also familiar with loss in the family, as her son had died at age two.

A difference between the women is that Minnie Wright was born and raised in the area and had gone to school with the other main female character, Mrs. Hale. In contrast, Mrs. Peters is not of local origin; she has recently moved to the community with her husband, the sheriff. The overall impression is that Mrs. Peters and her husband have a sound marriage, while the Wrights’ relationship was very strained—to the point that Minnie snapped and killed him.

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