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The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

  

by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale Characters

Meet the Cast

The Narrator (Offred)

(Click the character infographic to download.) An EverywomanThe narrator is definitely the most significant character in the novel—she's the Handmaid telling this tale, and we experience the wo...

Moira

(Click the character infographic to download.) Rebel With A CauseRemembering Moira's story always brings a tear (or, to be honest, several dozen tears) to our eyes. Moira starts out in a blaze of...

Serena Joy

She Should Be Named Bittera SadSerena Joy is neither serene nor joyful. Then again, Serena Joy isn't her real name. In a novel full of characters referred to by pseudonyms, Serena Joy seems to stan...

The Commander

(Click the character infographic to download.) Your Wish is My CommanderIn a way, the Commander is the most naïve character in the book... which is super ironic given how much power he has. But,...

Nick

He's No Saint NickNick is the closest thing The Handmaid's Tale has to a sexy bad boy—after all, he knocks boots with Offred, he seems to be a rebel, and he's male.Like Luke, Nick is a mystery, e...

Luke

(Un)Lucky LukePoor Luke. Not only is he most likely dead, but what life he has (which is all in the memory of the narrator) is fading fast. He seems like he was a truly awesome guy... but how much...

Aunt Lydia

Agony AuntThere are plenty of unlikable characters in this dystopic nightmarescape, but we have a special reserve of hatred for Aunt Lydia. A lot of that comes from the fact that she's a woman... a...

Ofglen

Trained Pig or Secret Rebel?The total paranoia of Gilead finds personification in Ofglen. We don't know whether she's a total cipher—a "trained pig" who does what her master(s) orders—or a secr...

Janine

Teacher's—Er, Aunt's—PetBrown-noser. Suck-up. Apple-polisher. Janine in The Handmaid's Tale. They all mean the same thing.Janine shows up in the narrator's life during and after her time at the...

The Narrator's Daughter

Bundle of JoyThe narrator's daughter is more important in the text for what she represents than for who she is. We never really get to know her at all—she's too young when she's abducted to speak...

The Narrator's Mother

The narrator's mama—much like the narrator's husband and daughter—has been reduced through memory to such an extent that she's more of a figurehead than a character. But hey: the narrator's #1...

Rita

Rita is one of the two Marthas assigned to the Commander's household, mainly in charge of cooking. She's strict, disapproves of the narrator, and doesn't want to get involved. It's not as though sh...

Cora

Cora is one of the two Marthas assigned to the Commander's household, primarily in charge of household cleaning and menial errands. She treats the narrator with more kindness than many of the other...

Aunt Elizabeth

Aunt Elizabeth is one of the women in charge at the Center. She doesn't make as big an impression on the narrator as Aunt Lydia does, and she seems to get stuck with bathroom guard duty quite frequ...

Professor James Darcy Pieixoto

Professor Pieixoto is the keynote speaker at the end of the book, in the "Historical Notes" section. He gives a talk about the narrator's story, which he has transcribed and formatted into The Hand...

Professor Maryann Crescent Moon

Professor Moon is one of the speakers at the end of the book, in the "Historical Notes" section. She lives in a post-Gilead world and introduces Professor Pieixoto at a seminar. Professor Moon clue...