Triffles defines the ongoing battle of the sexes. Each sex wants to be dominant, but each battle ends seeing the male as the usually victor. .
The men think the women are only concerned with trivial issues (or trifles) rather than being concerned with their incarcerated friend and her murdered husband. Phillip Quick states that the play takes place in rural America. More specifically the play focuses on the brutal experience of being a lonely farm wife. The lonely wife in the story is Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Wright lives as an imprisoned and oppressed life, seemingly unimportant, totally dependant on her husband for all of her physical and emotional needs. Although the play takes place in the early 1900's, perhaps the issues that are addressed in the play transcend the boundaries of time and are easily understood today. .
At the beginning of the play, most of the dialogue is performed by the men. After they enter the house, they immediately take charge of the scene. None of their conversation is directed towards the women, just an occasional joke on behalf of them. Mr. Hale tells of what he saw when he came over to ask Mr. Wright a question. .
Mr. Henderson and Mr. Peters then begin to investigate the house. They complain about Mrs. Wright homemaking and poke fun at the conversation the women are trying to engage in. The men find humor in the fact the women are worrying about preserves rather than the unsolved murder mystery. .
After the men leave the stage, the women's conversation is the main point. As their conversation unfolds the power of the women is exposed in three stages: Mrs. Peters" acceptance of "Separate Spheres", Mrs. Hale's dissatisfaction with it, and Mrs. Wright's supreme hate for it. All three play dynamic roles in the play and, as far as the case is concerned, are actually stronger than the men. Mrs. Peters, wife of "The Law", is probably the weakest of the women. The idea of "Separate Spheres" is just fine to her.