The one act play, written by Susan Glaspell in 1916, is based on a true story, which happened in Iowa. The play is about a murder. The farmer John Wright was killed by stringing a rope around his neck. There is the only suspect – Minnie Wright, the widow. The play starts when a sheriff with his wife, an attorney and a couple from neighborhood, Mr. and Mrs Hale visit Mrs. Wright to investigate the crime scene. Mr. Hale says that the previous day he had visited Mrs. Wright but she was cold to him, and later, in the conversation she mentioned that her husband was dead:
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"Can't I see John?" "No," she says, kind o' dull like. "Ain't he home?" says I. "Yes," says she, "he's home." "Then why can't I see him?" I asked her, out of patience. "'Cause he's dead," says she. "Dead?" says I (Glaspell page #3)
Though, it was not the only evidence against her. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters have noticed something strange in the kitchen, while waiting there for their husbands to investigate the upper floor. The women have noticed that the fruit preserves were ruined, the bird cage was empty, the table top was half cleaned and half messed, and bread was left out of its box. The men decided that all those evidence are not important, because “Nothing here but kitchen things”. (Glaspell page #6) men are eager to investigate this case, that is why women hide the evidence found. When Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale find the box with a dead canary, they hide it, because the dead bird may be evidence that if Mrs. Wright has killed a bird, she should have killed her husband.
In the end it appears that the canary was killed because Mr. Wright did not like the bird’s singing, but for his wife it meant freedom and free will, that she has never had. That is why she killed the bird; she could not stand this any longer. Women do not tell anything to their husbands also because they understand how hard it was for Mrs. Wright to live with her husband. It was the time when women were not respected as they are now, men were ruling the world. This play reflects the main principle, according to which the society lived – men are important and self confident. In this play, the sheriff, the attorney and Mr. Hale show themselves as skilled detectives, although they do not notice what they wives do. They consider themselves to be important and care only about significant things, unlike women, who “are used to worrying over trifles” (Glaspell page# 8).
The beginning of the last century was the period when women were still influenced greatly by men, but on the other hand, they have already known about the feminism idea. The actions of the house wives in this play show that they know about feminism and they are willing to show their husbands that they are also worth being involved in the investigation. On the other hand, they understand how hard and difficult it was for Mrs. Wright to live with her husband; that the fact that her husband did not want to have children, because they are noisy, was killing her. Every woman wants to have children, and if her husband does not want, it does not mean that she has to live with that. That time it was very difficult to divorce, that is why the husband was killed. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters realized that it was the only way out for Mrs. Wright, that is why they did not confess and decided to hide the truth.
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