Discussion Topic

The most sympathetic character towards Mrs. Wright in Trifles

Summary:

The most sympathetic character towards Mrs. Wright in "Trifles" is Mrs. Hale. Throughout the play, she expresses regret for not visiting Mrs. Wright more often and understands the emotional and social isolation that Mrs. Wright faced, leading to her empathy and support for Mrs. Wright's actions.

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Who shows the most sympathy towards Minnie Wright in Trifles?

The two women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters—who come to the crime scene with their husbands—are most sympathetic to Mrs. Wright. They both understand what is to be a farm wife and can empathize with what made Minnie Wright crack and kill her husband.

Mrs. Hale has an empathy for Minnie based on having known her as a vibrant young woman when they were both younger. She can see how isolation and a cruel husband have ground Minnie down and made the light go out of her life. Mrs. Hale regrets not having reached out to her more.

Mrs. Peters is a newcomer, but she can empathize with Mrs. Wright's situation because she has been there. She knows what it is to have a person kill a beloved pet as Mr. Wright did to Minnie's canary. Mrs. Peters watched a boy hack her kitten to death with an axe. Mrs. Peters also knows how hard it is to be isolated on a farm, as she has had that experience.

The men don't understand Minnie's experience at all and overlook crucial evidence that she was the murderer. The women feel that Minnie's murder of her husband was justified, so they don't tell what they know.

It is hard to you have to choose between Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters: that is hard, as both are deeply sympathetic to Minnie. I would choose Mrs. Peters because her experiences have been so similar to Minnie's, but if you do so, back up your opinion with quotes from the text.

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Who is most sympathetic to Mrs. Wright in Trifles?

The two women in the play, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, who accompany their husbands to the farmhouse, are most sympathetic to Minnie Wright. Of the two, Mrs. Hale is the most sympathetic, because she knew and was friends with Minnie when Minnie was a bright, vivacious young woman.

Both women, however, strongly empathize with Minnie, who is now in prison because it is thought she might have murdered her husband. While the men are high-handed and patronizing, missing evidence, and dismissing Minnie as a poor housekeeper, the women have the insight to reconstruct what really happened.

Mrs. Hale, who notices the bread left out of the breadbox and the broken jars of preserves, which exploded because Minnie let the fire go out in the stove, making the room cold, doesn't interpret this as Minnie being a poor housewife—she knows her friend is a careful homemaker. Instead, she reconstructs that Minnie was highly distressed and finally snapped and killed her abusive husband in retaliation for him wringing the neck of her canary. Mrs. Peters is sympathetic to this too, because she was once traumatized by a boy hacking up her kitten.

The men can't see what is in front of their eyes, but the women, more attuned to what it is like to be a woman in this culture, can discern what happened.

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Who sets the tone of sympathy for Mrs. Wright in Trifles?

Interesting question! It can be argued that the character who sets the tone of sympathy for Mrs. Wright is Mrs. Hale.

In the play, it is Mrs. Hale who takes control of the narrative by speaking up in defense of Mrs. Wright. When the county attorney makes a disparaging comment about Mrs. Wright's apparent lack of housekeeping skills, Mrs. Hale puts him in his place with a terse response: "There's a great deal of work to be done on a farm."

In the same conversation, the county attorney tries again by criticizing Mrs. Wright's use of "roller towels." Upon hearing this, Mrs. Hale counters with "those towels get dirty awful quick. Men's hands aren't always as clean as they might be."

In a later conversation with Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hale defends Mrs. Wright's reputation again. Both women are discussing the possibility of Mrs. Wright having played a part in her husband's death. During the conversation, Mrs. Hale defends Mrs. Wright. She argues that a woman who worries about her canned fruit cannot possibly be a murderer as well.

In the play, we get further evidence of how Mrs. Hale sets the tone of sympathy for Mrs. Wright. It is Mrs. Hale who informs Mrs. Peters (and us) of how Mrs. Wright's marriage changed her. Mrs. Hale proclaims that the young Minnie Foster (before she became Mrs. Wright) used to wear pretty clothes and sing in a choir. Later, Mrs. Hale uses the adjectives "sweet," "timid," and "fluttery" to describe Mrs. Wright. These words are contrasted with her description of Mr. Wright, whom she calls a "hard man."

From the above, it can be argued that Mrs. Hale is the character who sets the tone of sympathy for Mrs. Wright.

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