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

    She pleads with him to 'help me get through it please,' because she has nobody else. Her prayers to God help her to cope with the regime because she knows he is watching over her which gives her strength to carry on.

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

    happy she will not get the child she wants so much, but from a different point of view this is a chance for Offred to not be sent to live with the 'unwomen' in the radiation stricken land, so this lessens the status but she still receives some as it

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

    is just their word against someone else's, this must be the same way people in Gilead practise law. Unfortunately it would be very easy for two people to get together and agree on the same story if they wanted to frame someone.

  2. What do you find interesting about the ways in which Margaret Atwood presents relationships ...

    Atwood suggests the hypocracy of her situation, in which she encouraged women to stay home and adhere to traditional roles of wife and mother. She didn't practise this herself however, preferring to establish a career for herself as a TV personality.

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

    Nobody wanted to be reported, for disloyalty." This comment made by Offred shows the cohesive fear felt by society when the Gilead regime was in its first stages of practice. This story is not the first to create a civilisation in which the only two important beliefs in a society are the ability to procreate and a strict belief in God.

  2. The Handmaid's Tale - Read back over the opening six chapters - Write about ...

    Although theoretically the Aunts are give a position of responsibility, their placing in the regime is minute and of very little value. We are introduced to members of the hierarchy who have greater importance and whom stir great fear amongst the women: 'They were objects of fear to us'; ironically

  1. What is the Significance of the Birth Sequence in the Middle of the Novel?

    The rivalry between the wives and the handmaids is also evident in this sequence. The conversation Offred imagines would occur between the wives when the news of Janine's pregnancy is revealed cannot be far from the truth when the hypocrisy is revealed.

  2. 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.

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