The Handmaid’s Tale Through the Lens of Marxism

Roohollah Roozbeh


In Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the handmaid of the title is most frequently viewed by critics as a symbol of female marginality whose innocence and sincerity expose the hypocrisy and artificiality of patriarchal society. We will argue that Atwood goes beyond establishing Handmaids as simply one side of a dialectical opposition between matriarchal society and patriarchal society. The handmaids additionally stand as a symbol of proletariat, subjugated by the bourgeoisie to the point of slavery, harshly indoctrinated in a psychologically-damaging fashion, and are denied the basic freedoms. From a sociological perspective, Atwood’s story is an appreciated instrument to scrutinize through the theory of Marxism. With the application of this theoretical analysis, it is discovered that the world portrayed in The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian nightmare which subdues the proletariats. Most criticism overseas the class to which the handmaid belongs.


Marxism; Proletariat; Bourgeoisie; Handmaid

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