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Free Will In The Handmaid's Tale

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Free Will In The Handmaid's Tale
The Untouchable In order for true love to exist, free will must be present. However, the Republic of Gilead aims to severely suppress the autonomy of individuals, thus leading to state that is devoid of genuine relationships. Yet, the question becomes if it is even possible for the Republic of Gilead or any oppressive regime to completely press its subjects into a state of mindlessness to where they cannot think or desire anything that is outside of the society itself. The events that unfold in The Handmaid’s Tale provide a powerful demonstration that though oppressive forces can operate societies through an illusion, with the forces themselves believing the illusion, its influence cannot touch the deepest longings of the human experience …show more content…
Ironically, the Republic of Gilead creates the veil of blindness by using the Bible, the source that expresses the importance of free will and how it relates to the nature and destiny of man. Offred expressed a form of this understanding when, concerning the Beatitudes being played, she remarked, “I knew they made that up, I knew it was wrong, and they left things out, too, but there was no way of checking” (89). This remark by Offred reflects something grave about the regime. The regime is willing to distort the truth just so they can control the population. This is precisely why the regime prohibited the reading of Scripture: to keep the subjects submissive under an ideology which certainly isn’t Christian in order to diminish their free will. However, such an effort from authority to diminish free will also diminishes the free will of the perpetrators. Aunt Lydia according to Offred describes, “Men are sex machines…and not much more. They only want one thing. You must learn to manipulate them, for your own good” (144). Aunt Lydia’s claim reveals that the men of Gilead have a lack of free will because they have bought into their own lie. In other words, they are fulfilling the role that they have designed for themselves. Aunt Lydia also reveals another daunting reality. Though the women are oppressed, Aunt Lydia’s rhetoric reflects the same attitude that oppressive regimes have. The difference between Aunt Lydia and an oppressive regime is that an oppressive regime would say something along the lines of, “People are full of desires and not much more. They want many things. We must learn to manipulate them, for our

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