If someone is least reprehensible they are the least deserving of blame or punishment. Although all murder is immoral and should never be justified, there may be a valid reason behind it. The criminal that is least reprehensible from the OR is Minnie from “A Jury of Her Peers”, because the author implies that her husband was physically abusive, extremely controlling, and she had no other options to escape.
The author implies Minnie’s husband is physically abusive. Studies show that when someone is living in a constant sense of danger with the expectation of violence, psychological and emotional effects occur.
While roaming around Minnies house, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters find a bird cage with really bent hinges, and then shortly after they find a small box with a strangled bird in it. Her reaction, “Look at its neck, somebody wrung its neck! (Glaspell 221)” This shows Minnie realized if her husband had quickly take the life of the only thing she loved, the bird, he would not have a problem doing the same to her.
Then when Harry asks Minnie if she knew who had killed him, she says, “I was on the inside, I didn’t wake up (Glaspell 54).” Not only is this a plain story she came up with but the reader can see the analogy she uses. Minnie was so degraded and demoralized by not being able to control or predict the violence that surrounded her that’s she could almost not stop herself from committing the crime.
Also she committed the crime after the bird was strangled which shows she chose a punishment to fit the crime. When Mr. Wright took the birds life, it was the last straw for Minnie and she couldn’t contain herself any longer.
Mr Wright was also extremely controlling. Minnie Wright was forced into isolation by her husband. She lived “down in a hollow and you don’t see the road (Glaspell 6).” This proves Minnie was deprived access of the people of the town. Though even if she wasn’t no one would be able to help the woman. It also references to how much she had changed since being in a marriage with Mr. Wright. According to the text, “she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively— when she was Minnie Foster, but oh— that was twenty years ago (Glaspell 121).” So not only does Minnie change her appearance but even how she acted. “She used to be a towns girl singing in the choir (Glaspell 121),” in which reveals that she did have hobbies that she enjoyed and took part in but now doesn’t.
Her husband clearly changed not only how she appeared but also controlled what she was able to do. Lastly the in the text, “you don’t enjoy things when you feel shabby (Glaspell 121).” The reader can infer that for some reason she felt shabby and that is why she did not come out in the town and participate in activities, which is, yet another example of verbal abusive from her husband. After multiple occurrences of Mr. Wright controlling Minnies life, it makes a more sensible reason for her to have anger against her husband.
Minnie Wright had no other escape other than killing her husband. This story is based in the early 1900s which meant, that divorce was not readily available at the time. In this time period, there were few rights for women. A woman’s job at the time was to clean her kitchen, raise the children, and stay at home while the husband worked and ran the household. “I’d hate to have men comin’ into my kitchen— snoopin’ around and criticizn’ (Glaspell 105)”, which proves the authors point because women took pride in what their “job” was, to clean their kitchen, and for the men to judge them, they were easily aggravated. This also meant that cleaning and maintaining a well-kept house was one of the daily tasks that was necessary for a woman, so they should be good at it. For Minnie to have a messy kitchen it clearly shows she was unable to focus and do her “job as a woman”.
Also, even if Minnie Wright would have run away she had no connections to the people in the town and she would not be able to get a good job or have shelter. Plus, because of the gender roles, men did not even compare woman to themselves. Abuse was rarely reported, as it was often overlooked, because men were in charge and they thought they should be able to run their households how they like. The reader can see that even though Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters had figured out the murder and the reasons behind it, when explaining simple details to the county attorney he is oblivious and pays no attention to them. It says “he did not heed her (Glaspell)”, which means that he did not even notice that Mrs. Hale may have knowledge that could be helpful to himself. Therefore the woman stand up for the oppression they they had experienced as well as Minnie and decide not to expose her of the crime she had committed.
Minnie from “A Jury of Her Peers” is least reprehensible because the author implies that her husband was physically abusive, extremely controlling, and she had no other options to escape. As oppose to the Misfit and Mary, where they act out in pure anger for almost no reason at all, Minnie commits murder as self defense from a man who was abusing her. The Misfit not only killed random people, but woman and children, for an absolutely invalid reason that didn’t exist or at least that he himself couldn’t remember. Mary acts out in spite of anger and kills her husband because he decided to leave her, which also is a completely invalid reason to commit murder. Her husband had also made it clear that he would make sure she had money and was looked after but she still decided to take action that killed her husband. These are both completely different situations compared to Minnies because she was just trying to escape the abusive she was receiving from her husband. No murder is moral and no murder should be justified, but in some situations it is more valid than others.