The Handmaid’s Tale

by: Margaret Atwood

Five Key Questions

Summary Five Key Questions

3) Why does Offred agree to have sex with Nick?

Offred has nothing to lose by having sex with Nick. If she gets caught, she would be sent to the Colonies—a death sentence in all but name— but she faces the same fate if she fails to become pregnant by the Commander, who may be sterile. At the same time, Offred feels desire for Nick, and it is this desire which ultimately pushes her to go to him. The novel argues that no amount of totalitarian oppression can entirely suppress the force of erotic desire, above all the desire to reproduce.