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

How does Atwood show that the Gilead regime abuses religion?

Extracts from this document...


The Handmaid's Tale How does Atwood show that the Gilead regime abuses religion? Gilead is a society where religion is used to control people. Atwood has included many Biblical references and religious suggestions throughout 'The Handmaid's Tale' to demonstrate this. The name 'Gilead' is a place in the Old Testament which is named after a mountainous region East of Jordan which means 'heap of stones'. This links in with patriarch Jacob and the prophet Jeremiah. It was a frontier land and a place where a country was at war so protected its boarders. This can relate to Gilead in the way that it took those ideas and heaped them together. They set up so many boundaries and rules so that they could illuminate the bad things like r**e from the time before. However, they abuse this because women in Gilead have lost their freedom and are treated inferior to men. For example, when the handmaid's were being trained they were shown films of women being raped and murdered to try and convince them that they are better off in Gilead's regime. But, illuminating these things meant that they would loose their freedom and self respect. ...read more.


She says, "Blessed are the meek" which describes qualities of Christian perfection. She's instructing the handmaids to accept their position in society and obey Gilead's regime. However, she fails to finish the remainder of the sentence, "for they shall inherit the earth" which is the bit about having hope and something to live for, which the handmaids obviously do not. Offred's visit to Jezebel's is significant because the word 'Jezebel' is a name taken from the Bible who was a wicked scarlet woman. (Kings 21:15.) The name has different meanings in which Atwood wants us to interpret. The name refers to how women are treated in Gilead and how men abuse Gilead's regime in which they invented. 'Jezebel' was wicked and so therefore, in a sense, men are naming the prostitutes wicked even though the women didn't have much choice in whether they wanted to be there. Women had little choice in which status or role they would choose as part of Gilead's regime. If they were fertile they should choose the role of a handmaid because eventually they would get an element of freedom if they were able to conceive. If they were infertile then they were better off being a prostitute because their job is to please, not produce. ...read more.


The prayers are printed out by machines, 'row on row of them' which is impersonal and 'disrespectful' because it is as the store is like a take away ordering service. Everyone has the same prayer, like everyone has the same meal at McDonalds. The fact that the machines are not even run by humans portrays the sheer selfishness of Gilead because they aren't putting any thought or effort in to it. Offred says, "Ordering prayers from Soul Scrolls is supposed to be a sign of piety and faithfulness, to the regime" so, people aren't ordering them for what they are; their ordering them because that is what they are there for. Even the wives conform to the fact that "It help's their husband's careers". The machines have a logo on them that happens to be an eye. This is evidence to show how much the prayers are used as a business scheme. The eye could represent Gilead how people behave and if they are following the regime correctly. After the prayers are used, the paper is recycled. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing but in reality if people truly believed that the regime was important and the prayers were sacred, then they wouldn't throw away holy documents. People wouldn't read the Bible and then dispose of it. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...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. Compare and contrast their representation of the different social and cultural forces which contribute ...

    "Give me children, or else I die." The careful selection and manipulation of material is used to try to promote procreation. The use of religious text from 'The Bible' can be seen as the regimes way of legitimising their actions. Offred realises that the next generation of Handmaids will be more docile because "they will have no memories" of other possibilities.

  2. What I have learnt so far about the Regime in 'The Handmaid's Tale'

    The women cannot look at the Angels to avoid the s****l temptation in this surrounding prison-like set-up. The second main setting in which describes is in a room that seems at first like a pleasant change from the harsh atmosphere of the gymnasium, 'relief ornament in the shape of a wreath'.

  1. Examine the significance Religion plays in Gileadian society.

    We see that the handmaids are allowed to say very little in chapter **** when speaking to the tourists from Japan. The handmaid's speech is clearly censored and by saying they are 'blessed' is meant to give the handmaids belief in the reward of their silence, and that god will be pleased with them.

  2. What analysis of the female role does Margaret Atwood offer in ' The Handmaid's ...

    a woman's womb is the only solid, real thing that they possess. A woman's emotions, feelings and other body parts are like 'a cloud', they are insignificant and not real, and are seen to just float around the solid object that is their womb.

  1. Compare the ways in which narrative perspectives vary in 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' and ...

    Fowles sees his limits as the boundaries that are set by his desire to make his story credible: "possibility is not permissibility". However, both novelists emerge as god figures because ultimately, they are in control. Fowles attempts to define his role: "...definition of God: the freedom that allows other freedoms to exist.

  2. Gilead - Our Regime Manifesto.

    This gentleman will in effect be their commander. They will be housed, fed and looked after, all at a very small cost. This cost will be absolutely nothing in terms of money and they will be given free upkeep. The only provision would be that once a month, the Handmaid would have to s******y commit themselves to their Commander in the aim of pregnancy.

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

    Martha is not important in the bible, but the powers of Gilead has taken her role and expanded it so that they can justify having slaves within their society. This early example gives the reader an impression of what sort of society Gilead is and what they can expect further

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

    Gilead is a fundamental Christian state, in which a ruling elite took power via a coup d'etat following a terrorist massacre of a democratic government. Gileadian life is supposedly biblically based, however the reader quickly becomes aware that the bible is misquoted and manipulated, "Blessed are the silent."

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