Themes in Literature

Topics: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood, Gender role Pages: 3 (985 words) Published: July 17, 2011
Often in literature there are common themes that occur throughout eras and genres to link two otherwise different pieces of writing. One particular example of this occurrance can be seen in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Although these works have been written in very different time periods and use separate styles, there are two themes which link both stories and convey a very similar message. Strict societal roles and the treatment of women in patriarchal societies are prevalent ideas in both Shakespeare’s play and Atwood’s novel. These themes are approached and dealt with differently in each work, but ultimately convey the same meaning. There are some aspects of humanity that are able to transcend generations and still have an impact on the authors’ audience, and the themes portrayed in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Taming of the Shrew are included among these.

They're Specific roles for certain types of people to follow in every society, and many works of literature make use of the existence of these roles to comment on human nature. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the entire structure of the Gileadean government is built around social roles. The Eyes, Commanders, Angels, Marthas, Wives, and Handmaids are all expected to behave and speak in certain ways and to perform certain duties. Not following these expectations is punishable by law, where punishment means either exile or death. Each person’s role is signified by their clothing, as there is a specific uniform that corresponds with each role: Marthas must wear green, the Wives of Commanders all wear blue, and Handmaids have to wear red. In The Taming of the Shrew, society’s roles are less rigid but they certainly still exist. Divided mainly by wealth and gender, the societal roles are enforced by the friends and family of the characters rather than by law. Men and women of the working class are expected to be polite and subservient to the upper class, who...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Themes in Early American Literature Essay
  • Theme of Isolation in American Literature Essay
  • The Theme of Coming of Age in Literature Essay
  • The Theme of Isolation in Various Literature Essay
  • Themes in Modern Literature Essay
  • Literature with the theme of self-destruction Essay
  • Theme in Literature Essay
  • literature Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free