Essay on Character Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale

Essay on Character Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale

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Character Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale


We first meet Moira "breezing into" (P65) Offred's room at college.
She is the breath of fresh air. As Offred says, "She always made me
laugh" (P66). One of her roles is to bring humour to the reader, to
lighten the situation and contrast with the horror of the Gileadean
regime. An example of this is when Moira changes the hymn "There is a
Balm in Gilead" to "There is a Bomb in Gilead" (P230). Margaret Atwood
uses imagery to illustrate the role of Moira's humour in giving hope
to the handmaidens. She describes Moira as a "giggle; she was the lava
beneath the crust of daily life" for the handmaidens in the Red Centre
(P143). I think in this metaphor Margaret Atwood is describing the
effect of Moira's bubbly personality, always rising from under the
surface of the hard Gileadean regime.

Moira's rebellious and nonconformist nature is evident from Margaret
Atwood's first physical descriptions of her. Before the regime took
over, Moira had one "gold finger nail she wore to be eccentric" (P47).
I think Margaret Atwood uses Moira as the rebellious character
fighting against the regime. Her role is to stand out from the other
female characters. She is in contrast with the reaction to the
Gileadean regime of Offred, who endures the system in order to
survive, and Janine who is totally broken. Moira is the only female
character in the book to maintain her original name. This makes her
distinct from the other women in the book and is another example of
her individuality. Another role of Moira's rebellious nature is to
give hope to Offred and help her to survive. Following Moir...

... middle of paper ...

... was so important to Offred, and is no longer the
stronger character, as she is also now trying to "save her skin"
(P261). Although she has lost her rebelliousness, she retains her
humour and teases Offred, "there's lot's of women around. Butch
paradise, you might call it" (P261). The role of this change in
Moira's character is to show the strength of the Gileadean regime.
They can even break Moira, they have "taken away something - what? -
that used to be so central to her" (P261). Moira has become
indifferent to her fate and has lost her strength to choose.

I think Margaret Atwood uses Moira's final role to illustrate the fate
of many people under the Gileadean regime. She simply disappears. The
heroic character does not have a spectacular ending "something that
would befit her" (P262), but is never heard of again.

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