Sexual Relations in the Handmaid's Tale Essay

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Handmaid's Tale Essay
Sexual relations are a major theme throughout The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. In order to make sexual relations more normal the Republic of Gilead tries controls them but in doing so makes these relationships incredibly bizarre. By attempting to control and normalize sexual relationships and sexual tension, the Republic of Gilead made all types relationships and the sexual tension all the more strange. The majority of the relationships in The Handmaid's Tale are strange such as Offred's relationship with the Commander and Nick, and Serena Joy's relationship with the Commander and Offred. Sexual tension in Gilead is increased due to the disappearance of pornography.
Due to the decline in birthrates the Republic of Gilead forces fertile women to become Handmaids. These Handmaids are assigned to a high ranking person in the government. Offred is a handmaid to the Commander, also known as Fred. As a result she must have sex with him once a month so that the Commander may have a child. As the story progresses the Commander starts to want more than just sex with Offred even though he has a wife, Serena Joy. He eventually takes Offred on a “date” in which they play Scrabble. At the end of the date Offred thinks to herself “I could approach the Commander, to kiss him...slip the lever out from the sleeve and drive the sharp end into him...I think about the blood coming out of him, hot as soup, sexual, over my hands.” (Atwoods 139-140). Offred's relationship with the Commander has been driven to the point of sadism. Offred would gain pleasure by feeling the blood of the Commander flow over her hands after she dreams of stabbing him. By forcing Offred into a position of weakness by forcing her to have sex with the Commander, the government of Gilead has caused Offred to dream about receiving sexual pleasure through pain, the opposite of what the government wanted. Offred's one sexual relationship at the moment is slowly turning less and less...

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