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By: (1876-1948)

This play is Glaspell’s recognition of the way in which Victorian society left some women feeling trapped in roles for which they were unsuited. Because of the play’s non-realistic speech patterns and expressionistic elements, it was dismissed by most critics as being muddled and confusing. It has recently been ‘‘rediscovered’’ by feminist theorists, however, who see the work as an important contribution to theatre history. In 1921 when this play was first produced, women were still expected to stay at home and be dutiful wives and mothers. Many women began to voice dissatisfaction with their lack of opportunities and tried to change the situation. Thus, the feminist movement began to take hold. Other women rebelled by retreating into despondency, depression and, sometimes, madness. The Verge also reflects the fascination with Freudian theory that was sweeping the United States at the time. Freud had delivered his first U.S. lectures in 1909, and his theories of psychoanalysis and dream interpretation were widely discussed in many popular publications of the day.

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Plays by

Susan Glaspell






First performed by the Provincetown Players at the Wharf Theatre, Provincetown, Mass., August 8, 1916.

GEORGE HENDERSON (County Attorney)


LEWIS HALE, A neighboring farmer



SCENE: The kitchen is the now abandoned farmhouse of JOHN WRIGHT, a gloomy kitchen, and left without having been put in order unwashed pans under the sink, a loaf of bread outside the bread box, a dish towel on the table other signs of incompleted work. At the rear the outer door opens and the SHERIFF comes in followed by the COUNTY ATTORNEY and HALE. The SHERIFF and HALE are men in middle life, the COUNTY ATTORNEY is a young man; all are much bundled up and go at once to the stove. They are followed by the two women the SHERIFF 's wife first; she is a slight wiry woman, a thin nervous face . MRS HALE is larger and would ordinarily be called more comfortable looking, but she is disturbed now and looks fearfully about as she enters... Continue reading book >>

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