The Atlantic

Don't Overinterpret The Handmaid's Tale

What the dystopian series does not imply about the role of religion in politics
Source: Hulu

As someone who likes to build up my capacity to imagine the worst, I’ve been finding The Handmaid’s Tale, the new television series adapted from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, harrowing to watch. The show is an investigation into religious totalitarianism and patriarchy, and perhaps more interestingly a meditation on collaboration and complicity. I’ve been struggling with it because it seems, at times, so plausible, but also so far-fetched.

In creating the fictional Gilead—a theocratic regime that comes to power in the United States after falling birthrates and terrorist attacks lead to mass panic, then a culture of enforced sexual servitude—Atwood was issuing

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