Essay on The Handmaid 's Tale By Margaret Atwood

1521 Words Aug 27th, 2015 7 Pages
George Bernard Shaw once said “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart 's desire. The other is to gain it” (Man and Superman). Within Margaret Atwood’s (1985) dystopian fiction The Handmaid’s Tale, desire is shown to be a omnipresent aspect in the theocratic military dictatorship of Gilead. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, desire can be defined as “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen” (388). Within this novel, desire is shown to be a sense of longing for past elements of society that the characters have lost. Although authority is successfully constructed through several methods of indoctrination and dehumanization, this type of hierarchal social structure is undermined due to the pervasiveness of desire within every level of the state. Thus, desire is shown to be an essential part of humanity and cannot be suppressed. Characters of all levels of authority experience sexual, emotional and intellectual desire within Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Even within the celibate society of Atwood’s work, characters of different levels of the theocratic hierarchy are reduced to their primal urges and experience sexual desire. Right from the opening pages of the novel, it is shown that women have experienced a loss of sexual power and thus, desire sexual arousal further. For instance, Offred has lost her previous sexual partner due to the dictatorial philosophies of Gilead and thus, yearns for a sexual…

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