• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the significance Religion plays in Gileadian society.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine the significance Religion plays in Gileadian society. Religion plays a huge role in Gilead. It creates hope, faith, despair and loss. Religion is significant to many of the events, which take place in Gilead, and justifies nearly all Gilead's actions. However Religion also helps Offred to cope with her position and status. Many ceremonies take place within Gilead to carry out important rituals. Gilead uses the bible to justify behaviours in Gileadian society. These justifications take place in rituals like birth ceremonies, impregnation ceremonies and salvaging ceremonies. The commander reads from the bible before the impregnation ceremony, this gives him a sense of power and foreboding as he is justifying his own actions as well as Gileadian's reforms. The commander reads 'Be fruitful and multiply' this suggests that women were made souly to reproduce as 'fruitful' has connotations of fertility. This gives justification to the role the handmaids lead as if they should be proud to be carrying out such an important function. This also pre-empts the handmaid into becoming pregnant as it creates a great deal of pressure on them and is there as a reminder on what they are there for. This highlights the literal reasons for sexual intercourse and religion takes away love and emotion and replaces it with simple reproduction. The commander also includes in the family prayers the same phrase incorporated in the epilogue 'behold my maid Bilhah. ...read more.

Middle

This presents the social hierarchy. Offred's reaction to this indoctrination is 'then comes the mouldy old Rachel and Leah stuff we had drummed into us at the centre'. Again we see Offred's resistance to scriptural justification, we also see the lack of respect and a great deal of emotional rebellion. 'mouldy' gives the impression of the 'Rachel and Leah' story rotting away, slowly disappearing like the infestation of a fruit, but in these terms the words of the story are rotting out of Offred's mind as they are read because she does not believe any of it. 'old' shows the boredom of the words, it shows they were used so much in the centre that they no longer have any meaning, they are old, withered words which no longer have any meaning or life in them. 'drummed' intensifies the obsession Gilead has to programme its modifications in society onto the handmaids. Although religion plays an important role in Gilead we see that not all aspects of religion are welcomed with open arms. Religious figureheads are executed and hung at the wall. 'There are three new bodies on the wall. One is a priest, still wearing the black cassock...' This creates some enigma as Gilead is so intense on religion however they would murder the head of the church, it is here where we begin to realise that religion in a conventional sense does not exist. ...read more.

Conclusion

Not only do we see humour but extreme strength and forgiveness 'I suppose I should say I forgive whoever did this, and what their doing now. I'll try but it isn't easy' this creates an ample amount of strength, Offred is not only forgiving them for their past mistakes, but for the ones they are doing at the present. She is attempting to forgive those for her pain, and the breaking of her family and life. Forgiving them for the enslavement of her own beliefs. This shows Offred as our heroin. We see that Offred is an extremely strong Christian trying to forgive those who have demoralized her whole being. It is there fore religion, which gives Offred her strengths. Religion is interpretated in Gilead in their own way; the parts they can use to benefit them are taught those, which defy the reforms of Gilead, are left out. Such as the priests being taken out, as they were a form of religion, which did not agree with Gileadian society. Religion is a very strong standing point for Gilead as they interpretate the bible to show gods approval. Which is how they gain their power. Religions also used against Gilead, as it is what gives Offred hope and faith in escaping to the underground movement. Religion battles against itself to create the conflict in beliefs in 'The handmaids tale'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Margaret Atwood section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Margaret Atwood essays

  1. All around us we see evidence of the way in which belief is institutionalised ...

    own with the commander's wife and if there aren't any witnesses present then there is no crime and the handmaids are left in a very vulnerable position. Television in Gilead is censored, like everything else. It is clear that this society functions by keeping people na�ve for as long as

  2. Remind yourself of the last few paragraphs of Chapter 30 of The Handmaids Tale ...

    Gilead is a theocracy and its official vocabulary incorporates religious terminology and biblical references. The local police are 'Guardians of the Faith' soldiers are 'Angels' and the Commanders are officially 'Commanders of the Faithful.' Even automobiles have biblical names like Behemoth, Whirlwind and Chariot.

  1. Discuss how aspects of control are explored in

    Similar to George Orwell's "1984", there is an intimidating awareness of being watched. Atwood achieves this by creating an extended image of an eye applied from the eye painted on the "black van" to the tattoo engraved on Offred's ankle; this surveillance provokes a sinister and secretive atmosphere.

  2. Compare and contrast their representation of the different social and cultural forces which contribute ...

    of the regime; the recognition of denial symbolises the lack of reality of her image in this regime. Binary opposites compare repression within both novels; such as the opposites of Man versus God. The 'Handmaid's Tale' shows how 'man's' world had brought about a lifestyle of pollution, abortion and a

  1. How does Atwood show that the Gilead regime abuses religion?

    Now, people stay like stones, nothing can grow or develop. This relates to the way Gilead falsely tries to brainwash people into thinking they are being protected by the bad things in society. They remind people of the time before, exaggerating on the bad things in that society such as women not feeling safe to go out at night.

  2. What specific aspects of society do you think Atwood comments on in The Handmaid's ...

    Give me children, or else I die. I am in God's stead...that I may also have children by her". Offred, the main character, also recognizes their use of religion as she mentions how they had it "drummed" into their heads "every breakfast, as we sat in the high-school cafeteria".

  1. Discuss the society of Gilead in the sections have read so far The society ...

    This is shown clearly in the following quote: "We learned to lip-read...In this way we exchanged names..." This one act shows how the girls may have been rebelling from the society of Gilead and breaking one of the rules set upon them.

  2. "The Handmaids Tale" By Margaret Atwood, "The importance of being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde ...

    or outrage or inquisitiveness, such as you might see on a startled child' with blue eyes that shut you out and a once 'cute nose but was now to small for her face, she is insulting her mistress's looks; this shows that she still has some power, even if it is only in her own mind.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work