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Civil Disobedience In Antigone And Trifles

1056 words - 5 pages

Civil Disobedience of Antigone and Mrs. Hale

Civil disobedience is the purposeful violation of a law to show that it is unconstitutional or morally defective. In the plays, Antigone and Trifles, the female main characters commit an act of civil disobedience. The plays are respectively written by Sophocles and Susan Glaspell. Antigone, the main character of Antigone, protects her dead brother's honor as she disobeys the laws of King Creon. Mrs. Hale, the main character of Trifles prevents a neighbor from being charged with homicide as she breaks the law in front of two lawmen-The Sheriff and the County Attorney. Both characters' crimes are similar; however, their differences lie in ...view middle of the document...

Wright. Mrs. Hale knows that even if Mrs. Wright murdered her abusive husband who was "like a raw wind that gets to the bone" (Glaspell 1298), the wife will not receive a fair trial. Mrs. Hale is aware the laws are made and carried out by men. In addition, she knows "juries when it comes to women" (Glaspell 1300). With this in mind, Mrs. Hale hides all incriminating evidence to prevent Mrs. Wright from having to face a judge and jury composed of biased men. Both women defy the rule of the land to prove the law is defective. This is where their similarities end. They both break laws for good reasons.
Their strategies are very different. Antigone's plans are brazen and have disastrous
consequences. Mrs. Hale's actions are surreptitiously handled and do not cause any damage. Mrs. Hale's scheme is better approached and is smartly executed. She prevents herself and her neighbor from any punishment. As the Sheriff and the County Attorney search for "some definite thing" (Glaspell 1300) or "something to show anger" (Glaspell 1296), Mrs. Hale finds a dead canary. Knowing Mr. Wright is "a hard man" (Glaspell 1298), Mrs. Hale assumes the husband killed the wife's pet. Mrs. Hale notes, "No, Wright wouldn't like the bird-a-thing that sang. She [Mrs. Wright] used to sing." (Glaspell 1299). Mrs. Hale realizes the significance of the dead bird. The dead bird is "something to show anger" (Glaspell 1296). She figures that Mrs. Wright found the dead pet, could no longer deal with a spiteful, abusive husband, and strangled Mr. Wright with a rope. However, Mrs. Hale understands Mrs. Wright's predicament. There are no laws to protect Mrs. Wright. Therefore, Mrs. Hale secretly hides the bird and puts it in the pocket of her big coat (material for Trifles 1300) to provide Mrs. Wright the protection she deserves. In the end, Mrs. Hale's quiet plan works. Mrs. Wright remains unaware of Mrs. Hale's actions and Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Hale walk away as free women.
On the other hand, Antigone's actions are bold and daring. While Mrs....

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