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Characters / The Handmaid's Tale (TV Show) - Handmaids

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For June Osborne, Emily Malek, and Janine Lindo, see the Main Characters page.

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    Tropes shared by the Handmaids 
  • Baby Factory: Their own purpose in life is to give birth to more children, whether they like it or not.
  • Broken Bird: All of them are this by default, considering the kind of crap they are forced to endure. Some find better ways to cope, but they are still this at their core.
  • Color Motif: Red.
  • Dub Name Change: Due to their Handmaid names being "of-[Commander's name]," their names change accordingly for foreign language dubs. For example, Offred ("of-Fred") becomes Defred in Spanish.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Even though they live in relative luxury, the life of an handmaid is nothing short of a hellish and miserable experience: on top of having all your civil rights stripped like all women, you also lose your ties to your past, identity and name being referred to as whoever owns you, reduced to a Baby Factory whose only purpose in life is being raped and give birth to children for your master. And when no longer of use (whether by being too rebellious, growing old or infertile), then its off to the Colonies to die a slow and painful death. It is no wonder that a number of Handmaids attempt suicide to escape this wretched life like Offred's predecessor, Janine and June herself (though both survive) and even some econowives like Heather say she'd sooner die than become one. Tragically, she is turned into a Handmaid after they found out she is a mother (therefore fertile) and her husband helped June escape. The only thing comparable to being a Handmaid is becoming a Jezebel, whose purpose is to provide pleasure rather than children.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Even Handmaids who have clashing personalities genuinely care for and look out for each other, because they have no one else in Gilead.
  • Lady in Red: Played completely for drama. They wear red because it symbolizes fertility and establishes them as breeding stock. And while their fully concealing garments aren't supposed to be titillating, some male perverts have fetishes for the Handmaids in-universe.
  • Made a Slave: They are selected for their fertility and if, in pre-takeover society, they were divorced, married to divorced men or were single—same-sex relationships aren't acknowledged—or in a same-sex relationship. If they happen to be fertile and, in the Eyes of Gilead, sinful, they are eligible to become a Handmaid.
  • Rape as Redemption: In pre-takeover society, they were "fallen women" that committed illicit relationships, were divorced or lesbian. Gilead justifies "redeeming" into "proper women" by turning them into breeding slaves.
  • Sanity Slippage: All of them. To varying extents, but still — all of them.

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    Lillie Fuller/The Second Ofglen 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/handmaids_tale_tatiana.jpg
Played By: Tattiawna Jones

The Replacement Goldfish of the last Ofglen. A former drug-addicted prostitute.

  • Death by Irony: Her targets. Gilead removed her tongue for speaking out. In her final scene, she shows up during a public speech, clad in a suicide vest. She has one of the loudest retributions of any of the characters in the story so far.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: As distasteful as it might be to label a suicide bombing as one, her wiping out Gilead's entire upper government in one fell swoop is simply jaw-dropping.
  • Foil: To her predecessor, the rebellious Emily, who plays piety to hide her subversive activities, while this Ofglen plays pious as an act of self-preservation.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Downplayed. She can't stop musing - rationalizing - that Janine/Ofdaniel has it all better when the the latter had been re-stationed to a wealthier, "nicer" Commander, showing how Gilead wields twisted exaltation to turn Handmaids against one another. This doesn't stop her from being protective of Janine at her stoning.
  • Happiness in Slavery:
    • Her reasons for snatching June away from interacting with Emily. She had a worse life in the Before and this life in Gilead seems better by comparison, so she wants to protect her life and play the pious rule-abider. Though it's also up to interpretation whether she really thinks this way.
    • Her delight at being permitted to the fancy dinner with the Mexican ambassador indicates that she enjoys whatever privilege chances her way due to her position.
    • Her vocal way of refusing to stone Janine suggest she has limits over how much she can follow Gilead.
    • Characterisation Marches On: After her tongue is pulled out, she Took a Level in Badass and carried out a suicide bombing to take out many of Gilead's commanders. In the end, she dies fighting against Gilead.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Her way of pulling June away from talking to her traumatized friend may seem harsh, but she has no malice in doing so, as she's on survival mode in Gilead. She also seems genuinely protective of June over the driving incident and tries to offer June encouragement in the aftermath. Her camaraderie with her fellow Handmaids is also shown when she stands up for Janine at her stoning and methodically shows her fellow Handmaids her detonation button in order to warn them to run off before she dashes to suicide-bomb the room of Commanders.
  • Kick the Dog: Pulling June away from talking to Emily and then later scolding June for taking too long to walk to the Salvaging. It becomes evident that it's part of her survival mode.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Although none of the Handmaids ever find out her name, it is revealed to the audience as Lillie Fuller.
  • The Oldest Profession: In the Before era. This experience allows her to twist her current Handmaid station into something better.
  • Recovered Addict: Before Gilead she was a drug addict, but she is now clean, presumably due to the lack of availability of drugs in Gilead. Getting clean and having a place to live under the Gilead regime is part of the reason that she initially, at least, does not care so much about fighting back and mostly keeps her head down and plays the pious true believer.
  • Tongue Trauma: Gets her tongue removed as punishment for standing up for Janine and for being particularly vocal about it.
  • Spanner in the Works: Possibly. Her call-out of Aunt Lydia and her subsequent beating at Janine's stoning help inspire Offred to drop her stone. Thus, this possibly leads to the moment where the Eyes, or Mayday, whisk Offred into a van to possible escape.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Due to the stress of Gilead's operations and limited time spent with June, the two don't really get along much, and their bickering is akin to two sisters feeling resentment for the other getting them into trouble. However, like sisters, they do truly care about one another, with June feeling awful about her Tongue Trauma and Ofglen trying to to pull June away from a danger zone. Later, June wishes she knew Ofglen's name.

    Alma/Ofrobert 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/handmaids_tale_nina_kiri.png
Played By: Nina Kiri

A Handmaid June met at the Center, who occasionally chats with June during shopping trips.


  • Deadpan Snarker: When out of the Eyes' earshot.
  • La Résistance: Her involvement with Mayday is heavily implied by "A Women's Place" when she asks June if she overheard talks of trade routes and dates regarding the trafficking of handmaids. And then confirmed when June asks to join Mayday and gets tasked by Alma with returning to Jezebel's to receive a package.
  • Missing Child: Season 3 reveals she has one before Gilead named Dylan. June decides to help get him out.

    Brianna/Oferic 
Played By: Bahia Watson

Another Handmaid that June is friends with around the District.


  • Spiteful Spit: Does this to Ofmatthew as retribution for her betrayal against June.

    The previous Offred 

A handmaid in service to the Waterfords who committed suicide before the events


  • Driven to Suicide: She was so desperate and unable to handle her position that she decided to kill herself. She hanged herself though Handmaids are usually monitored very closely and everyone tries to prevent this kind of escape.
  • Due to the Dead: June finds a camaraderie with her. Part of what helps June to survive is to help cherish the last Offred's memory.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: We may not know her name and her only on-screen appearance is of her dead body, but the Latin phrase she carves in the closet wall offers inspiration for June.

    Natalie/Ofmatthew 
Played By: Ashleigh LaThrop

June's new shopping partner in Season 3.


  • Alas, Poor Villain: While getting her comeuppance by being bullied by other Handmaids is well deserved, her final breakdown and murderous rampage makes it clear that she's just another broken woman. June realizes she had been so harsh and apologizes to her comatose body.
  • Broken Bird: Can be assumed from the beginning by the very fact she's a Handmaid, but she hides it well. Confirmed in the eposode 'Unfit' when due to her stress with carrying a (supposedly) female child, being ostracized by her peers and finally publicly shamed under Aunt Lydia direction, she breaks completely and goes Ax-Crazy in the shopping centre.
  • Death by Childbirth: A variation. Giving birth isn't what kills her (she was already brain dead after being shot in the previous episode) but she's kept alive artificially until her baby can be delivered and is taken off life support afterward.
  • Due to the Dead: June comes to remind herself that Natalie went through a lot of suffering. She apologizes to Natalie at her bedside and acknowledges her as a fighter.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While more brainwashed than really 'evil', she commits heinous acts under Aunt Lydia's influence. However even she expresses worries over her unborn daughter's future in Gilead. When she snaps, she gets a choice between killing June or Lydia. Eventually she chooses Lydia.
  • Foil:
    • Like the late second Ofglen/Lillie, she's the pious kind of Handmaid, loyal to Gilead, much to June's irritation. Unlike the second Ofglen/Lillie, who made it clear to June she's just surviving and playing along, she seems well integrated into Gilead. In reality though, she isn't, and she's as become as broken as Emily and Lillie, and her final act of Freak Out! in the shopping centre bears resemblance to both Emily's 'joyride' and Lillie's bombing.
    • To Janine, who is also deeply brainwashed into accepting her life in Gilead. Similarly, she also undergoes the public shaming at the Red Centre which is the final step to destroy her sanity.
    • To most of the Handmaids, really. She never shares her name and unlike virtually all the others, she apparently acts piously not for self-preservation, but genuinely supports the system.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Implied why she passive-aggressively mocks June. Having surrendered many children made it easy to resent June.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Either is that good of an actress or really seems to be bought and sold into the Gilead doctrine.
  • Hidden Depths: When we first hear her pious ramblings, it's easy to assume that she just doesn't know what she's talking about and the brutal reality will quickly kick in and open her eyes. Turns out that nope, she's already had three children in Gilead and supports the system fully knowing its dark sides.
  • Humiliation Conga: From the moment Ofmatthew informs on the Martha Frances, all of the other handmaids are cold to her, with one even spitting on her drink. It doesn't end there, with June throwing her under the bus by expressing Ofmatthew's concern of being pregnant, leading Lydia to put Ofmatthew in the circle of shame. And when June smirks at her in the supermarket, it causes her to snap and attack Janine, a Guard, and nearly kill Lydia before she is shot by the Guardians.
  • Irony: She's worried about her pregnancy because she has a feeling the baby will be a girl, while her previous children were sons — confessing this to June ultimately leads to her public shaming and Villainous Breakdown. The baby turns out to be a boy.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • She goes off aloud about praying for baby Nichole/Holly's return to Gilead before June, mocking the latter about Luke's morality. She does backtrack and apologizes for this.
    • Later she turns in the McKenzies' Martha which results in the latter being executed.
  • The Mole: She is spying on June at Aunt Lydia's request.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Not only does Ofmatthew believe in the ideals of Gilead, it turns out she's been informing on June at Aunt Lydia's request. It's her fault that June's attempt to save her daughter ended so badly and Hannah and the Mckenzies were relocated. She even admits to it in front of the other Handmaids- who shield June from onlookers as she chokes the shit out of Ofmatthew.
  • Pet the Dog: This was after mocking June about Holly's safety, but she backtracks and notes she is glad June's child is safe.
  • Pregnant Badass: She is able to overpower a Guardian and take his gun before getting shot.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After becoming a complete outcast among the other Handmaids for getting Hannah sent away, she ends up having a psychotic breakdown while shopping, killing a guard and taking his gun, and about to kill Lydia before the other guards gun her down. Rather chillingly, it seems June actually intended all of this.
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