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Many of the principles of Gilead are based on Old Testament beliefs Discuss Atwoods use of biblical allusions and their political significance in the novel The Handmaids Tale is a book full of biblical allusions before Atwood begins the text an epigraph gives us an extract from Genesis 30 1-3 And 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 Jacobs anger was kindled against Rachel and he said Am I in Gods stead who hath 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 This principle from the Bible is used throughout The Handmaids Tale the principles being that it is the idea of both assemblages that a womens duty is to have children and that it is acceptable for a man to be angry if a women can not produce a child Both these beliefs show that in jointly the Bible and The Handmaids Tale women are completely defined by fertility and are classed as walking wombs The Handmaids Tale recreates the selected stanzas from the bible with Jacob Rachel Leah and the two handmaids The tale is an Old Testament story about surrogate mothers on which the novel is based The section gives biblical precedent for the several practices of Gilead by doing this it paves the way for Atwood to comment on patriarchy where women are undervalued and abused in all walks of life The idea is also expressed later when we discover the Red Centre governmentally known as the Rachel and Leah Centre As the basis of the novel it is replicated many times throughout the text for example it is found in the family reading before the monthly ceremonies and in
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