The Fates and the Furies

Topics: Greek mythology, Zeus, Ancient Greece Pages: 1 (469 words) Published: October 28, 2014

The Fates and The Furies
In Greek mythology, the number three is significant. Both the Fates and Furies are included in the list of Greek Triads (Hansen, "triads in classical mythology”). These are groups which all consist of three deities. The Fates are goddesses of destiny and consist of the sisters: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. They are also commonly imagined as weavers, whereas they are referred to as Spinner, Allotter, and Unbending. In modern Greek society, they are sometimes called “the Moirai” (Hansen, “Fates”). The Furies, meaning The Angry Ones, consist of the sisters: Alecto, The Unresting; Megaera, The Jealous; and Tisiphone, The Avenger (Taylor). In ancient Greece, the Fates were used to help the Greek people find contentment and closure. The Greeks believed that whatever they choose to do, their fate would always remain the same. Hansen writes that, “Just as the Fates spin the thread of an individual person's life at the time of his or her birth, determining its length and quality, so also they determine the nature of complex events, even the course of the cosmos itself.” (Hansen, “Fates”). This explains that once a person had been born, the contents of their life would already have been confirmed with the Fates, however, if a mishap were to occur, the Fates would also decide the outcome of that. The Furies were often used as a means of enforcing moral conduct and preventing sins. It has been known that if an ancient Greek were to sin, they would anger the Furies greatly and receive brutal punishments, often driving the Furies to pursue evildoers to the ends of the Earth (Taylor). In Book 1 of The Odyssey by Homer, Agamemnon is killed by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. When Agamemnon’s son, Orestes is grown, he consults the Oracle of Delphi. The Oracle tells him to seek revenge on his father’s murderers, which he voluntarily does, killing his mother and Aegisthus. As the harm of one’s own mother is considered sinful, the...

Cited: Dixon-Kennedy, Mike. "Orestes." World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy.
ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.
Hansen, William. "Fates." World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy. ABC-CLIO,
2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.
Hansen, William. "triads in classical mythology." World Religions: Belief, Culture, and
Controversy. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
Taylor, Richard P. "Furies." World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy. ABC-CLIO,
2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.
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