What Is The Role Of Women In The Handmaid's Tale

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The Handmaid’s Tale is an anti-utopian (or “dystopian”) fiction and feminist political novel written by Margaret Atwood. The novel is set in the not-too-distant future where a group of right-wing fundamentalists take over and establish the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic state of absolute control. One of the main goals of the government is to have control over reproduction, as the state’s entire structure is threatened by the crisis caused by the decrease in birth-rates. Unfortunately, the victims of this “main goal” are the women in Gilead, who are being deprived of their liberties and pushed back to their traditional roles as mothers or servants. By illustrating the lives of the women, Offred, the narrator of the novel as well as a Handmaid …show more content…
However, they are divided into different groups according to their age, fertility and background status. For example, there are the Wives, the Aunts, Marthas, Econo-wives, Unwomen, and also the Handmaids. While some were lucky to be married to the Commanders and Angels, the rest were forced to work as servants or slaves. A servant or slave can be defined as a person who is the legal property of another and forced to obey all their commands. Ironically, the Bible plays an important role in implementing the act of slavery when, in fact, the ownership of slaves was contrary to its teachings. The state declares that the roles of the Handmaids are of a religious and biblical role. For example, the Republic of Gilead has subjugated women and reduced Handmaids like Offred to sexual slavery, using a verse from the Old Testament as an excuse. The Handmaids even had to look the part, in their long, red dresses and their white “wings”, they look like nuns, like a “sister dipped in blood” (Atwood 9). According to Genesis 30: 1 to 3, it was legitimate for a man to have sex with his servants (slaves), particularly if his wife was infertile because in ancient Israel, as described in the Bible, women who could not conceive were devalued. The fact that the Wives in Gilead have to be present during the monthly impregnation ceremony and the event …show more content…
They are reduced to their fertility and treated as nothing more than a set of ovaries and a womb. The Republic of Gilead and it’s treatment of women is Atwood’s way of warning society that language can be used as a tool of power, and the Handmaids are an example of how easy it is to manipulate one another. In addition to that, women’s bodies can be used as political instruments as well, which can be seen throughout the book when the state took over control of women’s ability to procreate. Thus, by illustrating the lives of these women, justifies how dangerous totalitarian regimes propagate their power by the restriction of freedom of its people, and one social group that has everything to lose, as Atwood points out, is

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