Moira is a supporting character in The Handmaid's Tale (Novel) . She is Offred's best friend since adolescence, who became something of a legend amongst the Handmaids for successfully escaping the Red Center.
In the past Edit
Moira and Offred have been friends for years and attended college together. Offred remembers Moira throwing an “underwhore” party to sell sexy lingerie. Moira is a feminist and gender equality activist; later in life, she realized she was a lesbian, though it's implied she had had relationships with men in the past, and her reason for dating exclusively women was that she found relationships with men dissatisfying.
When the Republic of Gilead begins its takeover of the US, which Moira sees coming (when Offred doesn't), Offred comes to see Moira when she couldn't contact her mother. Moira comforts Offred and says that she too has been fired from her job and had her bank account frozen. She warns Offred that worse things are yet to come and that it's "You and me, up against the wall, baby."
At the Red CenterEdit
After Moira's unsuccessful attempt to escape to Canada, Offred meets her again at the Red Center, she having been rounded up and sent there to be indoctrinated. Moira and Offred pretend not to know one another because friendships arouses suspicion. They arrange to meet in the restroom to exchange a few words, which makes Offred feel terribly happy.
When Janine sits on her bed staring off into space, speaking to an invisible customer in a restaurant where she worked before Gilead, Moira slaps Janine and shouts until Janine comes back to her senses.
Moira resists the training, defying the Aunts and also mocking them behind their backs, whilst plotting to escape. Her first (actually second) escape attempt ends in failure and she is beaten for her actions: The Aunts tortured Moira by beating her feet with steel cables, the punishment for a first offense. The -punishment for a second offense was beating the hands. Aunt Lydia reminded the women that hands and feet did not matter for their purpose.
Moira succeeds in taking Aunt Elizabeth captive by dismantling the toilet and using a piece of metal from it as a weapon. She ties the Aunt up, takes her clothes and pass, and then simply walks out. Moira becomes something of a legend and idol to the other Handmaids, who privately look up to her as a symbol of rebellion.
Unfortunately, it is later revealed that Moira was recaptured, though she came close to getting over the border with help from Quakers. Moira couldn't be sent back to Red Center, as her rebellious nature could be a bad influence on the other Handmaids, and was offered a choice: go to Colonies or become a prostitute at Jezebel's. After seeing a video of the horrific conditions in the Colonies - where Moira glimpsed her old friend Offred's mother - she agreed to become a Jezebel, her spirit having been broken by the regime and figuring it's better than the alternative.
Present time Edit
Moira meets Offred again at Jezebel's years later, where the two have a brief chance to catch up. Moira wears an ill--fitting Playboy bunny costume. She turns and sees Offred. They pretend not to recognize one another, and then Moira gives the old signal to meet her in the washroom. Moira is accepting of her position in life and claims it's not so bad, as she is allowed cigarettes, alcohol and other forbidden luxuries, though Offred is shocked and disheartened by how apathetic Moira seems to have become. It is unknown what becomes of Moira, as after Offred encounters her at Jezebel's, she never sees her again. Moira mentions that she might be sent to a place known as the Boneyard after they find that she isn't useful anymore, but it is unknown whether this actually happens. It is also suggested that Moira was in fact a pseudonym, used by Offred to protect her friend's identity.