Early Feminist Drama

Drama is a unique form of literature that is meant to be performed on stage and seen by the audience, except the closet drama, which is meant to be read. Short stories are similar to closet drama that they are meant to be read as well. Because a play is written in a way that is meant to be performed, the experience of reading it differs a lot from the experience of reading a short story.  A play script is based on a dialogue between the characters whereas the short story is written in paragraphs. Our understanding of the play and its characters depends directly on the dialogue because the writer cannot interpret his own opinion or thoughts and the actors are the only messengers that deliver the message to the audience. However, a short story can be told by a writer in third person which allows him to add his own thoughts and make sure that we get what he wants us to know.

After reading Trifles by Susan Glaspell, it became one of my favorite plays ever. The play is about a farmer called John Wright who has been murdered in the middle of the night by someone who thought to be his wife. Mr. Hale, who is Mr. & Mrs. Wright neighbor, goes to visit them and he discovers that Mr. Wright is dead upstairs. Mr. Hale asks Mrs. Wright questions but she doesn’t give him any useful information and she acts strange. Mrs. Wright claims that she was asleep when her husband got killed but no one believes her and she is taken into custody.

The Court Attorney and sheriff Peters are the male characters who keep downgrading women during the whole detection. While they are trying to find evidence in the kitchen that proves Mrs. Wright is the killer, they are making fun of the things that women appreciate “Nothing here but kitchen things” (I.25) says Sheriff. Also, another quote that shows how the male characters in the play minimize the importance of women is when Mr. Hale says “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles.” (I.30). While the male characters are coming in and out of the house searching for evidence, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hales find out small details that are much more important than the details that the male characters found, which shows that females are not any less observant than males. However, when Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hales find a dead bird wrapped in silk in a fancy box, they do not tell the attorney and sheriff about it because they think they would laugh at them, as usual. Another reason for hiding the bird might be a compassion for Mrs. Wright or a sign of loyalty for their gender as they have always been discriminated against and underestimated. If you are interested in early feminist drama, Trifles is definitely worth reading. 

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