Theme Of Power In The Handmaids Tale

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“Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.”- William Gaddis. People take advantage of power when it is entrusted to them because of their own greed, which as a result lead to societal deterioration. In the story, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood, the higher-ups from Gilead abuse the power that is given to them, ruining the life of the citizens in the society. This was the cause for the need of higher birth rates and fixing conflicts in the world, but this was handled immorally. We see these conflicts exemplified throughout the story as corruption controls both power and identity. Margaret Atwood preaches the importance of these lessons to help us appreciate the possession of human rights that we acquire.
Power that is held
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In the handmaid's tale, the Handmaids are treated poorly, making the person no longer themselves. The reader learns that Offred is being told what to do and has no say for her opinion, since it is against the law to go against the government. According to the handmaid’s tale, "You go out through the door and turn right. There's another door, it's open. Go up the stairs and knock, he's expecting you. No one will see you. I'll sit here." Offred has been given a command by Serena Joy to meet Nick late at night which breaks the law. She has to follow Serena’s step by step procedure, however she also needs to listen to the laws that were made by the government. As a lower class citizen she will be severely punished, since her only job is to be a tool for sexual reproduction. Offred cannot turn her back once she is told to do something because she is part of the lower rank in Gilead. Serena’s idleness leads to her abusing her power to get what she wants.This connects back to theme because Serena joy could have told Nick herself to have sexual activities with Offred, but instead tells Offred. Furthermore, Offred does not act defensively due to her submissive personality, which allows people with power to harm her. However, even though Offred is held back from showing her true identity, she acknowledges that she’s the only one who can change herself. Another quote states, “Pick up that disgusting thing and get to your room. Just like the other one. A slut. You'll end up the same.” Offred has longed to achieve her freedom, human rights, and proclaim her real name back, but the the society strips it away from her. This also connects back to the theme because Serena is being taking advantage of Offred with her power because of her laziness. Serena could have easily picked it up herself but since Serena has power over Offred, she is able to instruct her to do anything. Serena’s nasty attitude
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