The Presentation of the Commander in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The commander can be seen as a man torn between two worlds, he was one
of the founders of Gilead yet still enjoys and yearns for the
pleasures of the old society he managed to break. It can be seen as '
he has made his bed and now he must sleep in it'. The commander is
cool and collected on the surface but underneath he is bitter and
corrupted for the world he has managed to create. I believe the
commander secretly longs for the world to be as it once was and this
is why he savours his time with Offred because she may remind him of
life before Gilead; it is also ironic how both these characters felt
under the surface an anger and repression of Gilead and they both
wanted to break free but on the surface when they played scrabble with
each other they are calm and to a certain extent sophisticated,
between the characters there is certain amount of sexual and power
The commander tells Offred that he believes that the reason why the
State of Gilead came into place was because there was 'an inability to
feel' and in his words, 'we thought we could we could do better.' This
shows a slight resentment by the commander who throughout the novel
seems hard character to break down. This can make the reader either
feels sorry for the character or see him as cruel and Atwood has
presented this very effectively so you feel mixed emotions about the
character making it harder to break down the book and decipher the
characters thoughts and feelings.
Offred has feelings for the commander despite the fact that she is
forced to have sex with him in the ritual then he helped to create.
She says, 'Right now I almost like him' and 'I remind myself that he
is not an unkind man, that under other circumstances I almost like
him.' It is...