The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel that has captivated readers since its publication in 1985. One of the most striking aspects of the novel is its use of symbolism, particularly when it comes to the eyes. Throughout the novel, eyes are used to represent power, oppression, and resistance.
One of the most noticeable uses of eyes in The Handmaid’s Tale is the clothing worn by the Handmaids. The Handmaids are required to wear a red habit with a white bonnet that covers their faces, except for a small slit for their eyes. This outfit is meant to symbolize the idea that the Handmaids are nothing more than vessels for reproduction, with no identity or individuality of their own. The bonnets also act as a way to prevent the Handmaids from seeing or being seen, further emphasizing their lack of agency and autonomy.
The use of eyes as a symbol in The Handmaid’s Tale extends beyond the clothing worn by the Handmaids. The Eyes, a secret police force in the novel, are named after their signature uniform of black suits and hats with a large white eye on the front. This eye represents the surveillance and control that the government has over its citizens, as well as the fear that permeates society. The Eyes are a constant reminder of the consequences of rebellion and resistance, and the importance of submission to the regime.
Eye Symbolism in The Handmaid’s Tale
Eyes play a significant role in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. They are used as a symbol of surveillance, fear, and authority in the Republic of Gilead. In this section, we will explore the various ways in which eyes are used as a symbol in the novel.
The Significance of Eyes in Gilead
In Gilead, eyes are everywhere. The government uses them to keep tabs on citizens, and the citizens use them to keep tabs on each other. The eyes of the Guardians, the enforcers of the law, are always watching, and the Handmaids are constantly reminded of this fact. The presence of the eyes creates a sense of paranoia and fear among the citizens, who are always afraid of being caught doing something wrong.
The Eyes of God
In Gilead, the eyes of God are always watching. The government uses religious symbolism to justify its actions, and the eyes are a key part of this symbolism. The Eyes of God are said to be everywhere, and they are always watching to make sure that the citizens are following the laws of the Republic.
The Eyes as a Symbol of Surveillance and Fear
The eyes in The Handmaid’s Tale are a symbol of surveillance and fear. The Handmaids are constantly being watched, and they are always afraid of being caught doing something wrong. The government uses the eyes to keep the citizens in line, and the citizens use the eyes to keep each other in line. The presence of the eyes creates a sense of paranoia and fear among the citizens, who are always afraid of being caught doing something wrong.
In conclusion, the eyes in The Handmaid’s Tale are a powerful symbol of surveillance, fear, and authority. They are used to keep the citizens in line and to remind them of the power of the government. The presence of the eyes creates a sense of paranoia and fear among the citizens, who are always afraid of being caught doing something wrong.
The Eyes in Relation to the Commander and Wives
The Commander’s Eyes
The Commander’s eyes are a symbol of power and control. They represent his authority over the household and his position as the head of the family. In the novel, the Commander is often described as having “cold” and “calculating” eyes. This reflects his personality and his desire to maintain control over his surroundings.
The Commander’s eyes also play a significant role in his relationship with Offred. When Offred first meets the Commander, she is struck by his eyes and their intensity. She describes them as “piercing” and “unwavering.” This creates a sense of unease and discomfort for Offred, as she is acutely aware of the power dynamic between them.
The Eyes of the Wives
The eyes of the Wives are also an important symbol in the novel. They represent their status as the privileged women of Gilead, who are exempt from the harsh realities of life as a Handmaid. The Wives are often described as having “hard” and “cold” eyes, which reflects their lack of empathy and their willingness to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others.
Serena Joy, the Commander’s wife, is a particularly interesting example of this symbolism. Her eyes are described as “icy blue” and “unforgiving,” which reflects her bitter and resentful personality. Her inability to have children has made her bitter and resentful towards the Handmaids, who are able to bear children in her place.
In contrast, Offred describes the eyes of Nick, the Commander’s driver, as “dark” and “mysterious.” This reflects his ambiguous role in the household and his potential as a source of rebellion and resistance.
Overall, the eyes in The Handmaid’s Tale serve as a powerful symbol of power, control, and privilege. They reflect the complex relationships between the characters and their roles in the oppressive society of Gilead.
The Eyes of the Handmaids
In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the eyes of the handmaids are a recurring symbol throughout the novel. Offred, the protagonist, often reflects on her own eyes and those of other handmaids. The handmaids’ eyes are a reflection of their oppression, as they are forced to wear red veils that restrict their vision. Offred’s eyes, in particular, represent her internal struggle to maintain her identity and sense of self in a world where women are reduced to their reproductive capabilities.
Offred’s eyes are described as “dull” and “empty” at the beginning of the novel, but as she begins to rebel against the oppressive system, her eyes become “bright” and “alive.” This transformation represents her growing sense of freedom and agency, as she begins to take control of her own life.
The Eyes of Rebellion
The eyes of rebellion are also an important symbol in the novel. The handmaids use their eyes to communicate with each other, as they are not allowed to speak freely. They use subtle glances and gestures to convey their emotions and thoughts, creating a sense of community and solidarity.
The eyes of rebellion also represent the handmaids’ desire for freedom and autonomy. They are constantly surveilled by the Eyes, the government’s secret police force, who watch their every move. The handmaids’ rebellion is a form of resistance against this surveillance, as they use their eyes to communicate without being detected.
In conclusion, the eyes of the handmaids are a powerful symbol in The Handmaid’s Tale. They represent the handmaids’ oppression, their desire for freedom, and their rebellion against the oppressive system. Through the use of vivid imagery and symbolism, Atwood creates a haunting and powerful portrait of a dystopian society that is both terrifying and all too familiar.
The Eyes of the Secret Police
The Eyes of the Guardians
In the world of Handmaid’s Tale, the Guardians are the police force that enforces the oppressive regime’s laws. They are the ones who keep watch over the Handmaids and ensure that they are following the rules. The Guardians are known for their distinctive uniforms and their cold, unfeeling demeanor. They are always watching, always listening, always waiting for someone to slip up.
The Eyes of the Guardians are everywhere. They watch the Handmaids as they go about their daily tasks, they listen in on their conversations, and they report any suspicious activity to their superiors. The Guardians are the first line of defense in the regime’s efforts to maintain control over its citizens.
The Eyes of the Angels
The Angels are the regime’s elite soldiers, tasked with protecting the ruling class and enforcing the regime’s laws. They are the ones who carry out the regime’s most brutal acts of violence and torture. The Angels are known for their black uniforms and their ruthless efficiency.
The Eyes of the Angels are just as ubiquitous as the Eyes of the Guardians. They watch over the Handmaids and the other citizens of Gilead, always ready to pounce at the slightest hint of dissent. The Angels are the regime’s most feared enforcers, and their mere presence is often enough to keep people in line.
The Eyes of the Secret Police are everywhere, watching, waiting, and listening. They are the regime’s most powerful weapon in its war against dissent and rebellion. The Handmaids live in constant fear of the Secret Police, never knowing when they might be caught and punished for the slightest infraction.
In conclusion, the Eyes of the Secret Police are a constant presence in the world of Handmaid’s Tale. They are the regime’s most powerful weapon in its efforts to maintain control over its citizens. The Guardians and the Angels are the regime’s eyes and ears, always watching, always listening, always waiting for someone to slip up. The Handmaids live in constant fear of the Secret Police, knowing that they are always just one misstep away from being caught and punished.
Aurora Seeress is a renowned clairvoyant and medium who specializes in angel numbers, symbolism, numerology, and crystals. With a deep understanding of the spiritual world, she helps people find meaning and purpose in their lives. Despite skepticism, Aurora remains dedicated to helping people connect with their higher selves and find peace and fulfillment in life.