For centuries people have been writing dramas, but witnessing the drama of a story is a different kind of experience. There are many elements that make up dramas, including sets/setting, plot, conflict, symbolism, point of view, irony etc. Symbolism is something that can be hard to look for in a drama.
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A symbol is something that represents more than itself. In a drama props, clothing, or sets could all be used as symbols. When symbolism is added to a play it becomes more sophisticated. A symbol can put a play on a whole new level and get an audience to think of the play in a whole new way.
Symbols are often hard to find and many times you have to re read work to find them. In an article by Hickett she helps readers understand ways to find symbols “There are several ways to recognize symbolism in literature. One is the frequency an object or character is mentioned in a piece of literature–if it is mentioned often, it is probably important. Another way to find a symbol is to look at how much detail is used in describing an object” (1). Susan Glaspell uses many symbols in her play Trifles.
Glaspell uses symbols such as a canary, quilt, birdcage, rocking chair, cherry preserves all have symbolism given to them by Glaspell in the play. She uses her props very well to give them dual meanings that could easily pass ones eye. Each thing has a meaning to help solve the case, and even show who Mrs. Wright really is.
One of the main symbols in the story was the canary. The dead canary shows that Mrs. Wright is capable of murder. Since the bird had a broken neck it shows that it did not die of natural causes. This means that the birds death could also symbolize Mr. Wright’s death. It is up to a reader to determine if Mr. Wright killed the bird so Mrs. Wright killed him, or if Mrs. Wright were to kill both. The Canary could also symbolize the life and happiness Mrs. Wright once experienced but how it was killed by Mr. Wright.
Another key symbol in this story was the bird cage. It symbolizes a guard. Mrs. Wright had a guard up of how her life really was and the way Mr. Wright treated her. She could not show what she was actually going through. It shows how after marriage her life became secluded, like a bird in the cage would be.
The next symbol found in Trifles is the rocking chair. The chair symbolizes calmness. It shows throughout everything that Mrs. Wright is going through and how nervous she may be, while Hale is questioning her she can still remain calm. It shows that the chair was a place of tranquility, somewhere she could spend her time and be in peace.