Religion In The Handmaid's Tale

958 Words4 Pages
The Handmaid’s Tale
Religion is the basics of what people choose to believe in. Religion is often tied with our morality, to keep us in the right path and help us distinguish right from wrong. It is what gives us human beings part of our identity. It is what we turn to in times of crisis. However, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, shows how religion is used to create fear in order to control the people of Gilead and maintain order within the society. Nevertheless, most, if not all, characters have been insubordinate towards the laws of Gilead. Through the characterization of both the Serena Joy and The Commander and the brothel in which the Jezebels are in, it proves that rigid influences in society leads to corruption/wrongdoings.
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At first, the Commander is not viewed as a character who abuses his power. That is up until after “The Ceremony.” He uses his power to initiate a forbidden relationship with Offred, which is prohibited by the Gilead regime. Offred did not know what to expect. She figured that it was “ ...some minor sexual manipulation, some bygone peccadillo now denied him, prohibited by law and punishable by amputation” (Atwood 155). Sexual acts for pleasure ,for both man and women, have been forbidden. The new regime has also caused the Commanders relationship with Serena to be damaged, due to them acquiring handmaids. This causes the Commander to form a relationship with Offred, in order to satisfy his needs. He soon manipulates Offred into having sex with him. The irony of this situation rests in the fact that most of the laws, based on the Bible, of Gilead were enforced in order “to protect women,” yet Offred is not being “protected” due to her fear that the Commander might expel her if she does not sleep with him. “He is not a monster, I think” (Atwood 255). Offred is not trying to think of the Commander in a negative light. She would like to think that he is still a good man. It is the preposterous ruling of the society that has led him to this. This also connects with the fact that strict religious influences in Gilead have caused the…show more content…
When the Commander shows Offred the “club,” in which the Jezebels are in, she tells him those things were to have been strictly forbidden. Their religion forbids it. The Commander replies , “Well officially, but everyone’s human after all.” When she asks him what he means by that , he replies, “It means you can’t cheat nature. Nature demands variety, for men. It stands to reason, it’s part of the procreational strategy. It’s nature’s plan” (Atwood 237). Even though their society has forbidden men to be intimately involved with other women that they are not assigned to, they still do it because it is in their nature. The brothels are there for men of high statuses to break free from strict religious influences. There are many different types of people who attend these brothels. The Commander states, “It’s only for officers from all branches; and senior officials. And trade delegations, of course. It stimulates trade. It’s a good place to meet people. You can hardly do business without it” (Atwood 237). Men, not only go there for the women, but to make connections with other men of power in order to better their business. This shows how men of power take advantage of their position in order to get what they want, whether it is for their business or seek variety. Once again, it is the religious influences in Gilead that led them to be in that position.
Religion can either lead
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