Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Handmaid's Tale

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Handmaid's Tale

Article excerpt

THE HANDMAID'S TALE

Season 1 (Hulu, 2017)

By now you've probably heard of The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's book of the same title. The show takes place in the Republic of Gilead, a world where women have no rights and procreation takes precedence above all else. Most women in this near-future society are infertile, and handmaids--women who are believed to be fertile--are given to the powerful men and forced to bear children for their wives.

The show is at times an uncomfortable viewing experience. The camera does not shy from the sexual violence inflicted on all the women, especially Oifred (played unflinchingly by Elisabeth Moss), or the similarities between Gilead's society and ours.

One of the most jarring elements of the show is the use of Christian and Hebrew scriptures to defend and validate Gilead's society. The commanders and their wives often repeat the Old Testament story of Rachel and Bilhah: Rachel thought she could not have children and forced her handmaid Bilhah to have sex with her husband Jacob, claiming the children as her own. …

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