October 31, 2013
The Complex Commander
Offred says to herself, “What do you mean? The Commander, it must be. See me? What does he mean by see? Hasn’t he had enough of me?”(99). In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, The Commander is a man who expresses several sides of his character and personality. Throughout the book the Commander shows character traits of someone who is emotional and sympathetic. In their society, the Republic of Gilead, the Commander is one of the main people that are responsible for creating it. At first the Commander comes off as the ultimate dictator or authority, but when he’s not in public, he is someone who has a much different side to him. The Commander shows how he is torn between how things used to be and the new society they all live in now. In hindsight, the Commander is sympathetic by how much of a hypocrite he really is, how he seeks an emotional relationship and how much he regrets his decisions in creating this society.
The fact that the Commander is a hypocrite, he demonstrates his sympathetic qualities. The Commander built a society where there is no need for women to talk or think, and for women to only produce children; however, he contradicts himself though when he asks Offred, what her thoughts are, and what she thinks about whatever subject they are talking about. For example, the Commander repeatedly asks Offred what she thinks about men feeling again in this new society: “I like to know what you think, his voice says, from behind me. Come now, he says, pressing a little with his hands. I’m interested in your opinion. You’re intelligent enough, you must have an opinion”(210-211). This shows how the Commander is a hypocrite as he is expressing his sympathetic qualities and contradicts himself through his actions. He does not fully believe in this society of Gilead as well as the laws against women not being allowed to talk or think in general. The hypocrisy in the Commander...
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