Allusions In The Handmaids Tale

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The handmaids tale is a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. Offred, the narrator, describes Gilead, as being a corrupt city where her rights were suppressed. Throughout the book we (the reader) are presented with many allusions, one of these being the bible. Atwood uses specific parts of the bible that glorifies marriage, convict women but absolve men of adultery for the purpose of childbirth to make the law’s in Gilead. Other Bible references that focus on meekness and humility has been used to dictate the handmaid’s behavior. Despite the fact that bible references usually don’t fit into a dystopian society, Margaret Atwood uses allusions to the bible as a foundation for the society’s laws, values and regulations.
Firstly, one of the allusions, which might be the most obvious, is the way the bible assists Gilead in naming social groups. The handmaids, the Aunts and the Martha’s all have their title from the bible. The Martha’s for example have their title taken from Luke 10:38-42 in the bible and the Martha’s from the novel roles corresponds to that of Martha in the bible. The men in the novel on the other hand, with respect to their role in society are named “Commanders of the faithful”, “Guardians of the faith”, “angels” or “eyes of the lord”. The angels are soldiers that fight in the army. In the bible, angles are also warriors, however they carry a more innocent or holy feel to them, whereas the angels of Gilead fight in the war that never seems
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