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The Handmaids Tale


The Maid's tale focuses on the theme of women in subjugation and other means through which they were able to gain their agencies. The scenes are set to take place in the near future of Republic of Gilead which is a nation formed within the borders of the United States of America. By portraying the traits of the characters, the narrator is able to express her themes and social commentary. This study is an analysis of the characters of the narrator (Offred) who expresses her traits by telling her story through one person form.

The Offred

Offred is the narrator or protagonist of the story, the Handmaid's tale. She tells the story from her experiences as a concubine or handmaid who were kept for the reproductive purposes by the males of the ruling class. Her characters describe her experiences and the ideas which passed across her mind, her flashbacks and digression. The traits generally portray the character as being intelligent, kind and perceptive.

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This character was among the first women to be separated from their husbands and children after the formation of the Republic of Gilead. She was considered to be fertile hence was seen as a valuable commodity of procreation in the houses of the lords. Without minding about her husband and children, Offred was taken as handmaid of Commander Fred to bear children for him and his wife Joy Serena since she was infertile. The name is functional because it means of Fred or of the master since she belonged to the commander (Atwood & Martin, p. 215-225).

The character is not a hero although her efforts to fight the oppression of women were recognizable. She inwardly resisted the nature of handmaid in Gilead since at first she was worried about what would happen to her if she disobeys the commanders. However, after her efforts to escape from the captivity failed, she openly rejected it although she is not a champion of the feminist. She is always uncomfortable about her mother's activism efforts especially her services as a mouthpiece of different sort of feminism. She matched for abortion rights, the banning of pornography and other issues relating to women rights so as to preserve the rights of women. She also possesses many faults to make her human although not considered to be heartless. She almost gave up the fight when she begun an affair with Nick thus she overlooked her plans to escape and assumed that the life was bearable.

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Like many of the other female characters, Offred was a time considered to be good-hearted, passive and contented with the life, she took for granted the freedoms which was won by the feminism and only realizes it when paying the price. Through her characters the structure of the society of Gilead is focused including several and differing categories of women and how their lives are circumscribed in the new theocracy. By having an affair with the commander, the character was exposed to many hidden or contraband aspects of the new society (Lemke, p. 23-47).

The character persevered sexual abuse activities which she was exposed to when gated in the palace. The commander took her to a secret room of prostitution where he could secretly and frequently meet her. The wife of the commander arranges with her to have sex with the driver who would make her pregnant because she believed that the husband was sterile. This means that Offred could be pressured to have sex with anyone so long as she becomes pregnant.

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The thesis statement of the narration is how the rights of women were treated during the Gilead period and how Offred as the narrator and main character fought against or for this.


The Handmaid's tale is used to describe the position of women in the society during the Gilead period. Offred is the main character and narrator of the story who tells it by explaining her experiences as a handmaid of the Commander.

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