Boston College Law School

In the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, why do you think Glaspell allows us only to hear about Mr. and Mrs. Wright? What is the effect of their not appearing on stage?

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Well, Mr Wright is dead, killed by Mrs Wright (at least presumably so). Mrs Wright is referred to by name, but she is not seen in the play because she has disappeared, leading the other characters to believe that she was in fact responsible for Mr Wright's murder. Since the entire play takes place in one room (the kitchen). Their absence adds a sense of mystery, and allows the other characters to speak without holding back. Other than that, it only makes sense that Mr Wright's body would be left upstairs.

Mrs. Wright is actually being held in jail, and the other women are gathering things she might need. Mrs. Wright's absence from the play (physically) allows us to see her through the eyes of others.