The Three Fates in Greek Mythology: Misrepresentations of Women

By: Kritika Sharma
The Moirae, also known as the Three Fates, in Greek Mythology are three goddesses who rule over fate. The Moirae control the fates of mortals through a thread of life and they are seen in three different life stages. The first one, Clotho, who is in the form of a maiden, spins the thread of life. The second, Lachesis, who is in the form of a mother, measures the thread of life. Finally comes the last, Atropos, who takes the form of a crone and cuts the thread of life. Ultimately, they are all controlled by the ruler of all Gods, Zeus.
The maiden, Clotho, in her youthful form takes the role of spinning the thread as she symbolizes the first significant stage of a woman’s life. In the midst of her youthful fragility, the young maiden is seen as the bringer of happiness and excitement. Similar to her role as part of the moirae, which is to begin; she is seen as a childlike enthusiast and viewed with great reverence and delight. The relation between the form taken by Clotho and her role as part of the moirae is also quite comparable since she begins a young woman’s journey of life just as she begins to spin the thread of life.
The mother-figure, Lachesis, in her nurturing form takes the role of measuring the thread of life. Her role is to govern and manage, much like how mothers manage and raise their children, and to allot the threads. Lachesis is the embodiment of an honoured lady who is regarded with great respect. She, in her role of dispensing the thread, assumes the role of a woman’s second significant stage in life, a mother. Mothers are viewed with much admiration since they symbolize a woman of substance and thus, Lachesis, fulfilling her role as the form of a compassionate mother who binds and nurtures is also perceived with high regard.
Finally, Atropos, in her final stage takes the role of the crone. Atropos is an elderly woman who cuts the thread of life, ending the mortal’s journey then and there. She is the bringer of death and is feared by many as she decides the lifespan of a mere being. She, assuming the role of a crone, is regarded with great abomination and hatred. The crone, deserving of the title of being wise and of worldly knowledge, is instead revered by society. She occupies a woman’s final stage and this is similar to her role of being the end as part of the moirae.    
The Three Fates in Greek mythology, as they assume the role of three significant life stages of a woman, are thus misrepresented. Whereas the maiden and the mother are viewed as wholesome and are furthermore respected, the crone is instead shunned by all and is misrepresented. Although, this stems from a mythology based centuries ago, this is still relevant in modern society wherein the elderly are “hiding in the shadows and becoming stereotyped with age”. In order to properly project us women and represent our beauty in all the three stages of life, we need to bring back the notion that “with age comes wisdom” and refuse to succumb to such stereotypical advances by society.



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