Is “The Handmaids Tale” symbolic for how history is bound to repeat itself?
For those of you who have seen at least one episode of the “The Handmaid’s Tale” can attest the extreme attitudes and psychological warfare that is the basis for the show. For those of you who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon be aware SPOILERS AHEAD. I was like you once, I am an active member in the community against jumping on bandwagons and usually wait to watch a show after everything is already ruined by social media where we are basically given a play by play. But one boring afternoon my curiosity got the best of me, I had been reading a lot of interesting articles online about this controversial TV series, that glorify violence and cult-like behavior, and completely ruined the image of religion in the public’s eye. After the first episode, I was hooked. We are introduced to the main character June Osborn who with her family is attempting to flee the country, we later learn Canada is a free state and was a sanctuary for all those fleeing from the new government and leaders of the world; Gilead. A religious extremist group who through violence and what they proclaim the name of God start a modern civil war and women, or should I say fertile women are the direct target. This modern-day New America and the rest of the world have had fertility rates plummet and the number of healthy babes born was slim to none. Not only is the world dying, but so is everyone else on it. The Handmaid is a slave to the Commander they are assigned to, (a Commander is the head male of certain households, and typically higher ranked officers). Handmaids are women kidnapped and forced into this role because they are fertile and either have or have had the ability to produce healthy children. The Commanders of each household perform what they call “The Ceremony” where the wife holds down the Handmaid and the Commander perform ritualized rape in order to attempt to convince children. Now, there are many other issues glorified in this show, murder, corruption, slavery etc. But what I find interesting is the way the show is set in modern time and essentially uses current events as the basis of the show but changes names and throws some Hollywood magic in and BAM hit TV series.
The idea that a religious group is power hungry and wants to paint the world in their perfect image is a fear that resonates in the hearts and minds of many. The show is a metaphor for how dangerous extremes can be and what people will do to achieve their ultimate goal. While yes, in the real world the likeliness of an extreme religious group actually taking over the governmentand rebuilding America into a slave country and baby factory is almost nonexistent. There is an army of people who would refuse to go down without a fight. However, the reason the show is so controversial is due to the truth that rings from the message of the show. After the climb to make it to what we as a civilization are today, it would be devastating to fall down that hill into the arms of slavery and chaos. The matter of the fact still stands, that violence is how the terrorists win, and when dangerous people find a source of power it is we, the people who must rally and help our country.
I am still slightly shaken by how this is aired for all ages to see regardless its rating, but how numb the children of today are to death and violence it really seems like a moot point. It’s quite sad honestly, I remember when I was younger, and being from Colorado, the idea of a school shooting started and ended with Columbine. When it came to terrorist attacks I was too young for 9/11, and now there is a mass murder or attack every other week it seems. Violence and anger are the two greatest weapons for the destruction of a society. Through TV Shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and so many others, the true fears of real people are brought for the world to see. The scary part is how many people have the same fear.
However, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is fiction and heartbreaking, yet nonetheless, we learn about how psychological torment can ruin a person, and how corruption and greed can destroy civilizations. Lessons that prove our own history is our teachings for the future.