What Does This Stage Direction Tell You About the County Attorney?

What Does This Stage Direction Tell You About the County Attorney?

Stage directions play a crucial role in conveying information about characters, their personalities, and their actions in a play. They provide the necessary guidance for actors, directors, and readers to understand the intentions of the playwright. In the case of the stage direction “laughs,” used to describe the County Attorney in Susan Glaspell’s play “Trifles,” it tells us a lot about his character and provides valuable insights into his personality.

The County Attorney, as described in the stage direction, is seen laughing. This single word carries significant implications about the character’s attitude, demeanor, and perception of the situation at hand. It suggests a dismissive and condescending behavior, implying that he does not take the events or the concerns of others seriously. This stage direction gives readers and viewers an immediate impression of the character, allowing them to form opinions about his personality and how he might interact with other characters.

The laughter of the County Attorney could indicate a lack of empathy or understanding of the gravity of the situation. It may indicate that he views the women’s actions as trivial or inconsequential, dismissing their opinions and perspectives. This portrayal also suggests a certain level of arrogance and superiority, as laughter can be a tool used to belittle others and assert dominance. The County Attorney’s laughter may reflect his belief that his own knowledge and authority are superior to those around him, disregarding the potential insights others may have.

Furthermore, the stage direction “laughs” could also signify the County Attorney’s ignorance or disregard for the women’s ability to observe and understand the situation. It may suggest that he underestimates the women’s intelligence and competence, assuming that their involvement in household tasks and domestic matters renders them incapable of contributing meaningfully to the investigation. This laughter may imply a sexist or patronizing attitude, reinforcing gender stereotypes prevalent during the time the play was written.

See also  How Long Does Painter’s Tape Last on Pickleball Court

The stage direction provides a valuable opportunity for actors and directors to interpret the character and bring depth to their portrayal. While the text may only mention laughter, it is up to the performer to decide the tone, intensity, and intention behind that laughter. The County Attorney’s laughter could be sarcastic, mocking, or even nervous, revealing more about his true feelings and motivations. This stage direction prompts actors to explore the character’s complex layers and bring their own interpretations to the forefront.


Q: What is the significance of stage directions in a play?
A: Stage directions are written instructions for actors and directors that describe the physical actions, movements, and emotions of characters. They provide vital information about the setting, tone, and intentions of the playwright, helping bring the story to life on stage.

Q: Why is the County Attorney’s laughter significant?
A: The County Attorney’s laughter reveals important aspects of his character, such as dismissiveness, condescension, arrogance, and a potential disregard for others’ perspectives. It allows the audience to form opinions about his personality and how he interacts with other characters.

Q: Does the County Attorney’s laughter suggest sexism?
A: While not explicitly stated, the County Attorney’s laughter may imply a sexist attitude by underestimating the women’s intelligence and disregarding their ability to contribute meaningfully to the investigation. It can be seen as reinforcing gender stereotypes of the time.

Q: How can actors and directors interpret stage directions?
A: Stage directions provide a blueprint for performers, but they also allow for interpretation and creativity. Actors can explore the character’s emotions, motivations, and intentions, bringing their own unique portrayal to the stage while remaining faithful to the overall vision of the playwright.

See also  What Is the Difference Between Public and Private Law