Trifles by Susan Glaspell and The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neil Essay

September 8, 2022 by Essay Writer


Novels, plays, songs and poems have been used in various ways by many scholars to convey important messages to their audience. People can view themselves in many literature presentations and realize the mistakes they make in life. Literature warns, educates, entertains and informs people about their societies and what shapes their behavior. This essay examines how play writers expose different perceptions of human beings through their characters and themes.

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

This play was written in 1916 and it explores various perceptions of men and women and how they behave when faced with different challenges. The author condemns gender stereotypes by exposing the evils associated with male chauvinism. She manages to show her audience how people have equal abilities to manage various issues in the society. The play presents how the detectives failed to discover what killed Mr. John Wright.

On the other hand, the three ladies present in the room are shocked at how these ‘professionals’ are not able to gather clues that will lead to the arrest of the culprit. In addition, the audience is able to see the evils associated with gender stereotypes. The women concealed the evidence that would have been used to find out the cause of the death being investigated.

This play is a good example of how the society continues to fail due to weird gender perceptions. The murder investigators think that they know their work better than other people. In fact, they think that women cannot help them in any way to establish the truth regarding this matter.

On the other hand, these women are submissive and they do not want to engage in arguments with men. Even though they look innocent, they inwardly laugh at the fruitless attempts shown by the incompetent investigators. This is expressed in their conversations when the attorney and sheriff say that the house has no evidence to lead to any meaningful case. This play shows that men think that women are weak, illiterate and must be kept in the kitchen. On the other hand, women respect men but inwardly laugh at their failures.

The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neil

This play portrays how wealth and power cause discriminations and class differences in the society. O’Neil uses bleak realism and natural conversation to create uniqueness. Literature continues to evolve and thus O’Neil was in the right path towards revolutionizing stage drama.

He has used a natural style to present his views to enable the theme of the play to blend with the behavior of the main character. Yank is a primitive but meticulous young man who thinks that he has more energy than machines. This male chauvinism drives him to despise women and think that he is not worth in his society. An honest statement that describes his character makes him change his residence.

In addition, he pays a lot of attention to bad comments about him and this makes him leave his community to stay with a gorilla. He meets his death at the zoo after staying there for some time and realizing that even gorillas do not want his company. His primitiveness is shown when he is disturbed by a negative comment from a girl and also when he said that he would blow up things while working with the firemen. The climax of his archaic behavior is when he decides live in the zoo with gorillas because the world had turned against him.


Glaspell and O’Neal have successfully managed to show how gender stereotypes and traditions affect human life. They have used different ways to show how people perceive each other differently and this contributes to the problems they face in the society.

Read more