“A Doll’s House & Trifles”

191 views 12 pages ~ 3246 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

In the plays Doll's House and Trifles, two ladies with very different social statuses are depicted as having a burning desire to overcome their existing obstacles. History has always portrayed women as submissive, polite, and whose primary responsibility it is to support, cherish, and raise moral children for their husbands (Dymkowski, 1998 pp.100). The play centers on how Nora and Mrs. Wright, two women, take issues into their own hands, regardless of the result, to combat the myriad obstacles that women face, such as stereotyping, discrimination, sexual objectification, oppression, and patriarchy (Ibsen & Worrall, 2008). The play reveals how the two women are out to seek individuality no matter which social status they are caught up (Ibsen, Losey, & Fonda, 1973 p.500). The plays give a clear overview of the position of women in the then era. In this essay, I will describe how the women in A Doll’s House and Trifles fight for women’s rights in different but successful ways.

Women have been treated like murder criminals. Mrs. Wright is the wife of a killed John Wright. She happens to be the primary suspect because she was the only one present during Mr. Wright’s murder that is, strangled to death (Ibsen & Worrall, 2008). She was the only person who Mr. Hale found when he came looking for Mr. Wright. Also, she is the one who told him that her husband was dead strangled to death while sleeping beside her. She showed no signs of grief while telling Mr. Hale about her husband’s death. This led to her being arrested falsely.

Within the family of Mr. Torvald Helmer, it is evident that women are treated as minors. Nora Helmer does not have the say family issues and cannot be given a chance to make critical decisions in the house. Nora is totally controlled by her husband whom she totally depends on everything thus; she is viewed as a puppet that depends on its puppet master for her actions because her husband’s movement and thoughts are hers too. An example of her husband’s physical control can be depicted in his teachings of tanterella (Ibsen & Worrall, 2008). Nora expresses her concerns by telling Torvald to teach her best dance moves. This shows Nora’s complete submissiveness to her husband. Besides, Torvald is not able to trust Nora with money, he only sees her as a child who cannot handle money on her own since she is very immature to handle such cash. In very rare occasions does he gives Nora money, Torvald thinks that Nora would waste finances on unimportant stuff like pastries. Therefore, Nora is only mandated to look after and ensure house chores are on course. Torvald treats Nora as a slave as an in-house slave in the name of love.

The representation of women in A Doll’s House indicates that women are used to fulfilling personal ambitions. Nora’s decision to get married is influenced by her late father. She, therefore, fell victim to marry a husband that does not love her. Nora Helmer is described as a woman from a well to do social background where the house is described as furnished and pleasant and where champagne and macaroons are always in abundance. She often has guests at the house, and there are even house cleaners who take care of her children. The husband Torvald is often at home. All these paint a good home for her that should always make her comfortable. On the other hand, Mrs. Wright lives in a secluded area with microscopic outside interference; she does not have children and seldom leaves the house. These women leave very different lives but share rather not apparent circumstances.

According to (Ibsen, Losey, & Fonda, 1973 pp.500), Mr. Torvald’s treatment towards Nora clearly reveals how the society stereotypes women. The fact that she does not entrust her with the finances shows his total feelings towards her. The act of Torvald’s selfishness lands Nora Helmer into the theft. Torvald despite being a wealthy bank manager, he does not save. The truth comes into the limelight just during his acute illness that demands sums of money. Nora Helmer as a responsible woman, who would wish to lose her husband despite belittling, goes forward to forge her signatures in the bank just to get health loan. Besides, she does not tell her husband of the credit status despite not working. Nora actions depict how women in love fight for life.

Women have been an inferior to men in terms of the position held in the society. They, therefore, resort to gang up and fight for their interests and rights.Mrs. Hale plays a very protective role in Trifles. Despite her husband being the witness, she defends the reputation of Minnie Wright. When the County Attorney and villagers complain of a dirty kitchen, she diverts the responses to favor the accused. She says that a farmer’s hands are always dirty but heavily loaded. Mrs. Hale is the first person to find a clue that relates Mrs. Wright to the crime. She discovered an uncompleted quilt and immediately sorts to finish knotting it to cover it. Besides, they also found a birdcage without the bird. She quickly figures out that Mr. Wright has killed the bird bought by Minnie that made her strangle her during the night. Her efforts to protect Mrs. Wright finally bore fruit as no authority learned of the evidence.

Nora is submissive to protect her relationship and home. Nora, a doll, though her efforts to fit in her husband falls short when she is denied transparently. Torvald refers to her as a toy only responsible for carrying out daily chores. You should note that before marriage Nora hailed from a well-established family where chores were done by housemaids. This reduces her to a puppet but does not despise. Her husband considers her only during sex (Ibsen & Worrall, 2008 pp.142). Little does she is get involved in important decisions. Many societies in the world treat women as such. Suppose it was someone else the marriage would have been broken up. Nora’s perseverance of all the odds shows how she fights for a better family.

Nora Helmer is a sign of change in play A Doll’s House. She champions transition towards Torvald from hating to love her. At the first chapter, we sympathize with Nora, but she is hopeful that her husband will at some point realize his mistakes and change. “Something glorious is going to happen.” This is the final conversation they hold with Mrs. Christine Linde at the end of Act Two. Her glorious happening becomes real in Act Three when her husband learned of her signature forgery and Krogstad’s act to blackmail her (Dymkowski, 1998 pp.100). Torvald ultimately gets the knowledge of the action but decline shouldering Nora’s blames holding his reputation high. This further poses a threat to their relationship and marriage. However, we can see that at the end of the play Torvald changed and respected Nora. Therefore, Nora Helmer showed persistence despite mistreatments and illusion for masculinity.

The women in the play Doll’s House show unity in Nora’s grief and offer pieces of advice. In most conversation, Nora does share talk only to Christine Linde, a childhood friend, and Anne-Marie, her nanny. Nora has discovered that later on Torvald Helmer might seize loving her because he seems to like her appearance only. She states, “One day I might, yes.” “Many years from now, when I’ve lost my looks a little.” “Don’t laugh.” “I mean, of course, time will come when Torvald is not as devoted to me, not quite so happy when I dance for him, and dress for him, and play with him.” (Act Two) Nora is very insightful but foresees what would happen to her in future. She, therefore, seeks pieces of pieces of advice to reorganize herself to what may come. Apparently, Torvald Helmer loved her because of physical appearance but what may happen when this fades away? The excerpt portrays as organisms that can reason for their freedom themselves.

Women can also be rebellious and revengeful when misused. Nora Helmer never bothers when her father falls sick till he dies. She blamed her father for compelling her to live the life she lives. From an affluent background, she has remained the only without development and unhappy at the expense of making Torvald and father happy. Her lifetime friend, however, attends to her father during ailment period. Despite losing her in Act One, she continues to mention him. She forges her father’s signature to get a medical bill for her husband. The actions indicate that she had not inherited anything from her late dad. Therefore, she will have to struggle to get a peaceful life out Torvald’s house.

In the play Trifles, Mrs. Wright has led a troubled life with her husband, John Wright. In the fight for her rights, anger leads her to commit murder. Mrs. Hale states that the two couples have never been in peace to the point that even neighbors do not visit them. Analyzing the statement recorded by Mr. Hale when searching for evidence (Dymkowski, 1998 pp.101). Earlier before, Mr. Wright busted Mr. Hale off so Hale thought that he would be convinced to do party telephone when Minnie Wright is around. Unfortunately, his conscious reminds him that John Wright does not listen to his wife.

Nora strives to be a successful and an independent woman. She admits having been playing tricks to Torvald to survive. But is not the case, Torvald does not notice her efforts, yet it was her father’s plan that she now suffers without any development at hand. “You and Papa have done me wrong.” She explains the compelling reasons why she acted without Torvald’s consent including repaying the loan secretly. She is very remorseful of the blackmail Torvald and her father did to her deceiving her of a happy marriage. In her early life, she has been a happy daughter and happy wife to Mr. Torvald, but the two took advantage and compelled her to act in ways that were wrong. Her efforts to please the husband have cost her development as a woman (Ibsen & Worrall, 2008). Indeed, she has made ‘nothing’ in life. Ultimately, she decides to leave Torvald and move on with her life- at least make something in life and live independently and happily.

Ibsen tells us that did not get financial support from their spouses. Minnie Wright is a successful farmer. She struggles to make a living out of farming. When she is arrested, she leaves back jars of reservations. Act one shows us they have a big barn for keeping produces. The state of her kitchen describes how busy she is to the farm. Mrs. Peter and Mrs. Hale defends her saying that the dirty cloth belongs to the guy who was sent to light the fire. Besides, she buys a bird that Mr. John Wright killed hence leading to his murder. As a passionate farmer, oppressed by her husband she could not stand a chance to lose her only bird. The above shows how Minnie Wright fought for better women rights.

The position of women in the society is understated. In A Doll’s House Nora does not have any professional position. Moreover, she is illiterate, a factor that makes her look little even before her kids. We can deduce from Helmer’s offer to educate her on how to bring upright kids. Christine Linde and Marie-Annie is either jobless or household maiden. Likewise, in the play, Trifles, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale represent those women without income earning sources. In chapter three, during the investigation, Mrs. Hale ridiculously tells Mrs. Peters that she is near authority, therefore, she can hide the evidence and go unnoticed.

Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale assist their friend from environmental harshness like cold. After, Minnie is arrested takes upon themselves to look for better clothes for Mrs. Wright. In Act Two, the play ends when the search is concluded, but the two women insist that they must take an apron to Mrs. Wright. The men in the play stay perplexed by their actions to care for a sinful woman. In fact, the people in the play are a symbol of authority that oppresses the woman being. Throughout the plays, we have learned that no woman holds an official position to represent Mrs. Wright. All her male neighbors turn against her giving false witness to get her jail.

Right child bearing and mothering ability are vivid in the house of Helmer. In the play, A Doll’s House we see Nora Helmer strives to raise upright children. Nora, a mother to Emmy, Bob, and Ivra, on realizing good parenting affects children development; she decides to keep a distance from them. Nora keeps her kids away when dancing to her husband. Furthermore, she would not like her children to learn the feuds between Torvald and her. This is shown in Act Three when she referred to as pet and doll. She briefly interacts with her children, exposing good love to them. Eventually, she obeys her beliefs that she might corrupt their morality. During a divorce, she leaves the children with their father. The decision shows that she fights to be a good mother.

In Trifles, Mrs. Wright acts as heroine champion to women rights. Mrs. recalls their childhood interaction with the victim’s wife. She was a successful singer in the choir. There she could earn a decent income with respect from society. All these shut down in her matrimonial home. She had remained without anything even voice in-house decisions (Angel, 1997). Mr. Lewis Hale requests permission to use party telephone from John Wright while Mrs. Minnie Wright is available. The only bird she bought to race got killed by her husband. She is frustrated with life as Mrs. Hale sympathizes (Dymkowski, 1998 pp.100). The interpretation of evidence extracted by her buddies illustrates that after such torments that she decides to strangle her husband.

Women have been in the plays are treated as illiterate and unable to handle crucial issues. Torvald tells Nora Helmer that she is illiterate and she needs to teach so that she can teach her children. The issue brings friction in the family leading to their depart ways after Nora Helmer’s declined Torvald’s offer. It is because of Nora’s ignorance that Ibsen tells us that Mr. Helmer cannot trust her with much money to avoid unnecessary spending. Nora is completely submissiveness to her husband. Besides Torvald is not able to trust Nora with money, he only sees her as a child who cannot handle money on her own since she is very immature to handle such cash. In very rare occasions does he gives Nora money, Torvald thinks that Nora would waste finances on unimportant pieces of stuff like pastries.

According to Glaspell, 2010), Mrs. Peters uses her husband privileges to hide evident evidence. “Mrs. Peters is the Sheriff’s wife she is married to law (147)". When her husband needs to know if Attorney would like to see what she is talking about Mrs. Wright, she grabs the box and tries to place it her pockets. Together with the assistance of Mrs. Hale, they remove the broken quilt pot and a dead bird in the shortest time male investigators move outside the windows. Mr. Henderson senses that there may be something that seems to connect with the evidence they are looking for, wives turn down the quilt question asked (Angel, 1997). Mrs. Hale answers that Mrs. Wright was going to knot it.

Anne-Marie a character that is not much developed in the play “A Doll’s House” equally plays an effective role in protecting women rights. Most of the times, she is the one who nurtures Emmy, Ivra, and Bob. She is a kind and loving mother. She stands with Nora during humiliation and discrimination. Due to her poor condition, she unquestionably accepts a nursing job in Torvald’s house to settle her economic deficiency. Thus she joins Nora and Linder in sacrificing their happiness to please men.

Nora Helmers suffers at the expense people’s reputations. In the beginning, we discover that Krogstad had been shunned from his society that refused to let him scot free from her past. Therefore, he utilizes Nora’s forgery to recover and compensate the rejection. Tovald’s hypocritically narrates that “I am not so heartless as to condemn a man…” “Because of a single mistake." However, when he learns of forgery saga facing Nora, he instantly turns his back and condemns her. The behavior introduces sympathy to Nora despite saving a life.


The two plays “Trifles and a Doll’s House” shows how women in similar oppressing situation act differently to fight for their rights and independence. The fact that they receive unfair treatment in the society is quite evident. This, therefore, triggers a reaction making them commit various criminal offenses to defend themselves. “A Doll’s House” is a Three Act play with Nora as the protagonist character leading unfair matrimonial life. We learn that she was forced to marriage with Torvald by her dead father. She loves her husband and children, but Torvald seems to have been attracted to her physical appearances. Nora fights for love from her husband in all ways. During his ailment condition, she thinks that solely borrowing a loan to settle would make her husband change his attitude towards her. She is discouraged by her husband revelations and reactions after treatment concerning signature forgery. Torvald is not able to trust Nora with money, he only sees her as a child who cannot handle money on her own since she is very immature to handle such cash (Angel, 1997). Aftermath, she decides to stay away from children and divorced with her husband to leave a peaceful life.

On the other hand, Minnie Wright fights for her right to farming by murdering her husband, John Wright. The evidence found by Mrs. Hales and Mrs. Peters indicates that feuds originated from killed bird. It is supposed that John Wright killed Minnie’s only bird in the cage that forced Mrs. Wright to react by strangling him. The other women in the play sympathize with Mrs. Wright thus hiding possible evidence required by Attorney Henderson to place charges against Mrs. Minnie Wright. For instance, Mrs. Peter’s uses have husband’s authority to sneak broken quilt port through the investigators. Mrs. Hale turns Attorney’s susceptive questions down in a wistful manner to protect their friend. In both, the plays the women characters receive the desired right outside their matrimonial home. Mrs. Wright, jail, and Mrs. Helmer divorce for a happy life.


Galens, D., Spampinato, L., Milne, I. M., LaBlanc, M. L., Thomason, E., & Smith, J. (1998). Drama for students: Presenting analysis, context and criticism on commonly studied dramas. Detroit, Mich: Gale.

Gale, C. L. (2016). A Study Guide for Susan Glaspell's ""Trifles, "" excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Drama For Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; a. Farmington Hills: Gale, Cengage Learning.

Baruch, E. H. (1991). Women, love, and power: Literary and psychoanalytic perspectives. New York: New York University Press.

Angel, M. (1997). Susan Glaspell's Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers: Woman Abuse in a Literary and Legal Context. Buff. L. Rev., 45, 779.

Dymkowski, C. (1988). On the Edge: The Plays of Susan Glaspell. Modern Drama, 31(1), 91-105.

March 10, 2023

Plays Slavery

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Oppression
Verified writer

Tony is a caring and amazing writer who will help you with anything related to English literature. As a foreign exchange student, I received the best kind of help. Thank you so much for being there for me!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro