The nature of evil

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale also deals with the nature of evil and the question of how individuals who are a mixture of good and bad manage to create a system that seems wholly evil. 

This theme is explored primarily through the Commander. He is an official of Gilead who is in a top position of authority and therefore partly responsible for the creation of Gilead and its cruel, oppressive system. According to the epilogue, he was probably personally responsible for inventing some of the most horrifying elements of the Gilead regime, such as the Salvagings, Particicutions, and the policy of threatening women with deportment to the toxic Colonies (Chapter 38, 78%). 

On paper, the Commander seems like he must be evil. However, as Offred gets to ...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in