In The Handmaid's Tale, Commander Lawrence most likely created Gilead as a way to test his theories about what the ideal social systems would be.
There is a lot about the history of Gilead from The Handmaid's Tale, as well as how and why it was initially created, that is still unclear.
One thing that is clear is that Commander Lawrence had a hand in creating every important system in Gilead, likely because he is an academic who saw it as an opportunity to create an idealised social system.
What is Gilead in The Handmaid's Tale?
The fifth season of The Handmaid's Tale will end on 9 November 2022, and although the series has always received great critical acclaim and it has a very loyal fan-base, there are still many unanswered questions as the show heads into the beginning of its sixth and final season.
Many of these questions are about the origin of Gilead, which is the strange and horrible world that America has turned into under the rule of the aggressive Christian dictatorship, just as Margaret Atwood wrote in the novel that the series is based on.
While it is pretty clear that the so-called “Sons of Jacob” were responsible for taking action to create Gilead under the guise that the world needed to be saved from sin, there are still many things about the Sons of Jacob and the creation of Gilead that are unknown.
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The Handmaid's Tale: Why did Commander Lawrence create Gilead?
Even though there is so much that is still so unclear about Gilead and about how it will all play out in the end, there is no uncertainty that The Handmaid’s Tale has no shortage of truly horrible characters with a history of deplorable actions and practices.
However, although Commander Lawrence is considered the architect of Gilead by some and many of his decisions have resulted in the truly horrible conditions that the lower classes in Gilead live in; his character is not all bad.
This is what not only makes it difficult to predict what Commander Lawrence is going to do next and how he will react to things.
It is also difficult to determine why he would help create Gilead and the dreaded colonies, when he is obviously not religious himself and he sometimes even helps June to fight against the system later on.
The reality is that Commander Lawrence is an academic and an economist and he most likely saw the creation of Gilead and its closed economy as an opportunity to create the ideal system.
He did not consider human lives and how they would be treated in Gilead, but mostly relied on numbers and statistics in the beginning of the process.
How involved was Commander Lawrence is Gilead’s creation?
Part of the reason why it is so clear that Commander Lawrence was really just involved in the creation of Gilead in the same way that an academic would be involved in a study, is because he was able to craft so many aspects of Gilead to be his ideal world system.
Commander Lawrence was involved in almost every part of Gilead’s creation. Most notably, he is responsible for the creation of Gilead’s closed economy, but he also helped to create the handmaids system with his books on the infertility system and export economics.
He is also responsible for the creation of the colonies, and he has some influence over Gilead domestic and foreign policies, as well as laws, security, and trade.
This means that even though he may not be driven by a religious ideology, he is largely responsible for almost all of the systems and their subsequent oppression in Gilead.
Why is Commander Lawrence so unpredictable?
Commander Lawrence is one of the most difficult characters to read on The Handmaid’s Tale.
Part of the reason for this is because although it does seem like he has some elements of humanity and almost even empathy in his character, he is also responsible for many of the cruel and inhumane systems that govern Gilead.
This, coupled with many other factors, makes it difficult to determine what drives him and what the motivations are for his actions or how he will react to things.
What are Commander Lawrence’s future plans for Gilead?
With this newest season of The Handmaid’s Tale, Commander Lawrence’s plans for Gilead 2.0, also referred to as “New Bethlehem” are starting to take shape.
This also reinforces the idea that Commander Lawrence is driven by a need to create an idealised social system, because he believes that the “New Bethlehem” system will allow them to improve some of the issues with Gilead and create a favourable model for other countries.