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Biblical Allusions In The Handmaid's Tale

An exploration into the many biblical allusions in the text in order to gain context.

Maclyn Willigan

on 14 February 2012

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Transcript of Biblical Allusions In The Handmaid's Tale

Biblical Allusions in
The Handmaid's Tale Gilead Balm of Gilead- healing and soothing Rachel and Leah Eyes of the Lord Angels Marthas Behemoth, Whirlwind, Chariot An when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel; and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hat withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her, and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.

Genesis 30:1-3 "Give me children, or else I die." "...and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her." Jezebels The Jezebel Spirit seeks to hide itself, seduce, intimidate, manipulate, and murder. "False Prophetess" "Teacher of sexual immorality" Jezebel was wife to King Ahad of Israel. She had many prophets of God killed. Promotes religious actions contrary to God. Sister of Lazarus and Mary Described as having an anxious, bustling spirit; anxious to be of service Martha Marthas Housekeepers/ Domestic work Cora is anxious for Offred to have a child so that she may have a hand in raising one Jesus came to Martha's residence to eat "For The Eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." "The Eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." "The Eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth."
"May we find favor in the Eyes of the Lord." Behemoth Whirlwind Chariot "He will take them away with a whirlwind." Demostrates the power and might of God Signify doctrinal things of good and truth "the water ox" "His bones are as strong tubes of copper .... his spine like bars of iron." Embodiment of strength and durability. "The Republic of Gilead, said Aunt Lydia, knows no bounds. Gilead is within you" Symbolize strength, protection, guardianship. Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

(Jeremiah 8:22)
"Chariots of Fire" Instrument of war Another representation of God's power "But the Eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love." Most likely derived from "Archangels" "The Angels stood outside it with their backs to us. They were objects of fear to us..."
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