Men in Glaspell’s “Trifles” and Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” Plays

Subject: Literature
Pages: 2
Words: 598
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College

The two plays portray conflicts that arise in society due to the assumptions that men hold about women. The communities are male-dominated. Gender roles come explicitly in the plays as male masculinity drives the notion of incapability of the women to think intelligently towards matters of great concern to society (Glaspell 1). The men’s opinion is disapproved by women quietly. A man like Torvald in A Doll’s House is seen to believe that women respect them, and it prompts Nora, the wife, to walk out and seek independence. This paper aims to explain masculinity given the gender roles that are categorically proved in the two plays.

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There is male domination in society over women. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen shows how Nora transforms the play prompting her to react differently to her husband (1261). Torvald, the husband, is a man who is only interested in his appearance. Moreover, he is more concerned about the amount of control he has over a person. His view of a woman’s role is unambiguous and narrow. In the beginning of the play, Nora embodies the “doll” as she is treated like a child. Therefore, men are viewed as being biased in the role of women in marriage, causing an inequality factor.

Men are viewed as unscrupulous and dishonest in society. Nils Krogstad blackmails Nora. In his analysis, Radam notes that Nora had forged a signature to borrow money from him when his firing from his role at the bank (155). In the past, he was finding it difficult to find a respectable job as he had committed forgery, which ruined his reputation even though he did not go into prison for that. Her lover Kristine Linde marries another man to get financial support for her dying mother and young brothers. The play, therefore, views men as being morally corrupt.

The play Trifles also depicts male superiority. Mr. Wright’s behaviors behind closed doors cause the change in personality of Mrs. Wright. The character of Mr. Wright changes from being outgoing to depress. Bazregarzadeh shows that Mr. Wright deprives her of her social life. Her canary- the bird which resembles herself, how she was pretty, happy, and free- is killed by Mr. wright, prompting her to murder him in revenge (10). Thus, the male dominance in society is viewed as causing psychological torture and emotional abuse.

Even though there is utmost male dominance in society, female identity is shown in the Trifles. The female actors use the broken birdcage and the dead bird to seek revenge on the male characters. Guswanto shows that the women are piecing a shred of evidence to prove that Mrs. Wright killed her husband, but they choose to conceal her because she is from their gender (27). Also, Mr. Wright killed the canary by wringing its neck, knowing well the unhappy state of Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s marriage. Men are therefore rendered powerless by the women’s identity as Mrs. Wright ends up killing her husband.

In conclusion, the males are viewed as dominant in society as they have to make critical decisions and follow the females. Some males are also considered as being unscrupulous due to their involvement in forgery activities with other females. However, women are believed to identify themselves later and can unite towards achieving their freedom. Puspitarini depicts that men look down upon women, which is shown when they did not search the evidence from the kitchen, which was considered unimportant things for men (41). Since the kitchen is considered a woman’s place, and men consider it unimportant, it means that women were looked down upon.

Works Cited

Bazregarzadeh, Elmira. “Susan Glaspell’s ‘Trifles’ in the Light of Ecofeminism.” [email protected], vol. 21, no. 1, 2019, pp. 10–16. Crossref. Web.

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Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Plays, Edited by Project Gutenberg, Project Gutenberg. 2004. Web.

Guswanto, Doni, and Lailatul Husna. “Psychological Conflict Between Men and Women in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles.” Jurnal Ilmiah Langue and Parole, vol. 2, no. 2, 2019, pp. 26–35. Crossref. Web.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Project Gutenberg, Produced by Martin Adamson and David Widger. 2008. Web.

Puspitarini, Diana. The Hidden Meanings Seen from The Symbols, Characters, And Settings in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles. Diss. Universitas Sanata Dharma Yogyakarta, 2019.

Radam, Assist. Inst. Halima Ismail. “Feminism in Heneric Ibsen’s A Dolls’ House.” ALUSTATH JOURNAL FOR HUMAN AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, vol. 221, no. 1, 2018, pp. 149–62. Crossref. Web.