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11106Respond to one of the following sets of questions. Refer to specific passages from the play in your response.

Identify and explain an example of irony in the play Trifles. What type of irony does this seem to be? (You might refresh your memory by looking at the brief lecture on irony in Unit One.)
Identify something that seems to work as a symbol in the play Trifles. What might this thing symbolize?
Why might the author have chosen the title Trifles for this play? What makes that word particularly significant?
Why are the women in Trifles so much better at solving this crime than the men? Can you point to any specific lines or passages in the play that help explain this?
Can you explain the choices the women make at the end of the play? How does evidence from earlier in the play help us to understand their decision at the end?
Trifles includes some important props and stage directions, without which aspects of the drama would not be clear. In many theatrical productions nowadays, the sets and props are very spare and abstract; there is no attempt to create a “realistic” setting. As we will read in this Unit, Greek drama did not include realistic sets or costumes; Shakespeare’s theater also generally did without much in the way of props, sets, or period costumes (like many productions of Shakespeare today, Shakespeare generally dressed his actors in what was, then, “modern” dress, even though many of his plays took place in what was, for his audience, the distant past). What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating “realistic” sets for a play? What might be added to a play by doing away with such sets?
Would it make sense to think of Trifles as a tragedy? Look at both the textbook discussion of tragedy and at the Unit Four lecture listing general qualities of tragedies and comedies. In what ways does Trifles have tragic qualities? In what ways does it not? Does it seem to create anything like the effect Aristotle felt tragedies should, “the katharsis of pity and fear”?
Trifles revolves around a crime, and the attempt to solve that crime. In the course of the play, characters discover clues that lead them to draw general conclusions about what has happened. Does the play differ in any important way from the sorts of crime dramas popular on TV? Is there any similarity between what the women do in this play and what a reader does in reading a work of literature?

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