Irony In The Handmaid's Tale

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Imagine a nation, in which its government commands by a religion where women are separated into different titles and must conceive children for their commander. Their rights from before this regime, and anything deemed unholy by the government, are a thing of the past. This situation is the one depicted in the Republic of Gilead, where the rules of society and its traditions are not taken lightly if broken. In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood shows that an oppressive government leads to the inevitable neglect and remiss of the law through Offred’s characterization, irony, and flashbacks. Offred's character development can show that her attitude towards the law changes over the course of her experience in the Republic of Gilead.…show more content…
The ironic part about the two characters, The Commander and Aunt Lydia, is their actions, despite their roles in the regime. When Offred and The Commander have one of their first secret meetings, she is surprised that he owns magazines because she “thought such magazines were all but destroyed” and it was where “you would least expect to find such a thing” (Atwood 156). The irony in this is the fact that even The Commander, a person with one of the highest titles in the regime, neglects the rules with no sense of regret. It is also implied in the novel that he had taken another mistress before Offred which shows that his involvement in Offred's story is not the first instance in which he broke the rules. Not only that, but it is told that he is a part of an illegal prostitution organization which is so obviously against the regimes beliefs that if he were caught, he would be hung or worse. Aunt Lydia also displays irony when in one instance, she is speaking to offred's class of handmaids and implies, but not directly states, according to Offred, “Men are sex machines… and not much more...you must learn to manipulate them…” (Atwood 144). The irony in this is that her title is one of high standard in the regime and it gives her more freedom and power than the typical handmaid or martha. Her job is to educate the incoming handmaids of the rules, traditions, and…show more content…
The characterization of Offred shows us that she goes from obedient to careless towards the rules due to her discriminating experience in the Republic of Gilead. The irony in the fact that even the higher ups of the regime neglect the rules shows that a government which restricts the people's freedom can not make each and every person loyal to the rules. The story of Moira told in the flashback displays her desperate need to escape and willingness to do anything to accomplish just that due to the unbearable conditions present in Gilead. When a person's actions are restricted and they are forced to follow something they don't agree with, it is only a matter of time before they start to act remiss of what is holding them back from true
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