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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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