Antigone, the main character of Antigone, protects her dead brother, Polyneices’ honor as she disobeys the laws of King Creon. Antigone shamelessly and proudly breaks the law, does not care if she is caught, and loudly admits to the crime in front of her fellow citizens. Mrs. Hale, the main character of Trifles prevents a neighbor from being charged with her husband’s murder as she breaks the law in front of two legal authorities, the sheriff and the county attorney. Both characters’ crimes are similar; however, their differences lie in how they handle their illegalities.
Ms. Hale performs her crime deviously and quietly, does not want to be caught, and has no intention to. In the play Trifles, the legal authority is the county attorney and the sheriff, and the moral law would be the women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. In Antigone the moral entity would be the divine law, such as the gods, and the legal authority would be Creon being the enforcer of the civil laws. The conflict between the women, county attorney, and the sheriff all arose from the murder of Mr. Wright.
In Antigone the conflict between moral and legal entity arose from the burial of Polyneices. Antigone felt that she had to bury Polyneices because if she had not she would get the wrath of the gods, or the moral entity. In Trifles the legal authority expressed a male superior attitude toward Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters which caused them to feel threatened and rebel against the legal authority during the case of the murder. The county attorney says to Mrs. Hale “Ah, loyal to your sex, I see. But you and Mrs. Wright were neighbors.
I suppose you were friends, too” (Trifles 1114). The county attorney replies with this when Mrs. Hale sticks up for Mrs. Wright’s house. Just because a few items are out of their place does not mean she is the slob it could be her husband. Once the women found the clues the Mrs. Wright had left behind to show why she had killed her husband, the women decided not to tell the legal authority because they realized that Mr. Wright made her miserable and drove her crazy, maybe to the point to where she would kill him.
The women notice the importance of singing in Mrs. Wright’s life. Singing was something she had known since she was little, but it was taken away when she married Mr. Wright. Mrs. Wright would be in an empty farm house all to her lonesome doing chores in silence, and that’s when she became a different person. The loneliness finally got to her and she bought a canary for company. She loved singing with the bird while doing things around the house, but her husband killed it. So in turn she killed her husband. Mrs. Hale and Mrs.
Peters both realized two things: that the secret must be kept to protect Mrs. Wright and the biases women go through to be accepted in society. Creon believes civil law is the supreme law of the land and loyalty to divine law is not essential for governing a city. His arrogance and superiority are exposed when he says, “My voice is the one voice giving orders in this City! “(Antigone 2. 3. 105). Creon comes off as arrogant and superior to others because he is telling people how it is going to be and if they did not like it he does not care.
In Antigone, Antigone chose to bury her brother Polyneices, even though she knew that in doing so she would face her own death because King Creon forbid the burial of Polyneices. Creon, the king, sentenced her to death for disobeying the civil laws by burying her brother. She knew the consequences she would have to take before making her decision, but she felt that burying her brother was the moral and righteous thing to do. According to the divine law, the dead need to have a burial in order to make the journey into the underworld.
Antigone would not let her brother go without it, because she knew if she did she would get the wrath of the gods. So Antigone made the moral choice of siding with the gods. Both Trifles and Antigone had conflicts with the legal authority and the moral entity within each play. The moral entity in both of the plays ranked superior against the legal authority. In Antigone the gods and her love for her brother had a strong power over her to go against Creon, the legal authority. In Trifles the women side with Mrs. Wright and decide to keep her secret from the county attorney and the sheriff to protect her.
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 11 th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 1114. Print. Glaspell, Susan. Antigone. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Sophocles. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 11 th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. Print.