Forbidden Desires

In the Novel The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood foretells a future where women who can reproduce are nothing more than a vessel to, well… reproduce. That is their only purpose. This future is under the scope of a religious yet corrupted society. The Irony. Part 9 through 10 continues with the life of it’s main character Offred.  “A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze” (Atwood 165). This is how Offred feels like as she does her daily duties. This is a very disturbing thought especially with today’s norms. The handmaids are actual people with actual desires but some if not all of these desires are indeed forbidden. Much like when The Commander dangles a magazine filled with models in front of Offred. Magazines like those are forbidden in their society. “There was something Renaissance about the pose, but it was princes I thought of, not coiffed and ringleted maidens. Those candid eyes, shadowed with makeup, yes, but like the eyes of cats, fixed for the pounce”, (Atwood, 157). These are the desires of Offred. The kind of freedom to feel powerful. In her current situation she is not powerful at all. The Commanders wife hates her because she does what the wife cannot do, bear children though Offred has yet to succeed in it herself. I would imagine that Serena, the Commanders wife, does not appreciate that the Commander has to lay with Offred in order to bear children. It could be jealousy. The simple act of someone coming into your territory, unwelcomed, yet she understands the importance of it. This is why during the ceremonies where the Commander lays with Offred and Serena there as well, Serena would inflict pain and discomfort to make sure Offred knows her place. Offred can not fight back because she knows it would mean death. This slowly changes as the Commander confesses that he and Serena have not been the same. He is clearly losing his love for Serena especially with the fact that he keeps calling Offred to these late night meetings which she herself has grown comfort to. These Meetings has gotten her and the Commander closer yet she hates it because of the circumstances between them yet she is loving it at the same time because she hates Serena as well. “I now had power over her, of a kind, although she didn’t know it. And I enjoyed that. Why pretend? I enjoyed it a lot”, (Atwood, 162). Offred is hungry, not the hungry for food but lustful for power. Power is freedom and she craves it ever so much. I am sure anyone would crave power when they are pitted into a future with a low ceiling. It is either you serve your purpose or you are deemed worthless and sent out out he colonies which to many equals death. Forbidden Desires is how I see it, all of Offred’s desires are forbidden, yet she is not wrong at all for wanting more.

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