Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Scythe can help.
The antagonist of the novel, Scythe Goddard is a charismatic scythe who wears lavish blue robes encrusted with diamonds. Goddard believes that gleaning should be public and iconic, as this is the only way for non-scythes to remember what it's like to be mortal. He's a cruel man who enjoys killing and is known for conducting mass gleanings with his crew of young scythes: Rand, Chomsky, and Volta. Goddard technically follows the scythes' code of conduct to live simply and own nothing but their rings, robes, and gleaning journals, but gets around these technicalities by accepting "donations" and granting wealthy homeowners immunity in exchange for letting him live in their mansions—though the homeowners have no choice in the matter. Goddard throws lavish parties regularly and hopes to bring scythes around to his way of thinking. After Scythe Faraday self-gleans, Goddard offers to take on both Rowan and Citra's training, but he's only allowed to take Rowan. Volta confides in Rowan that Goddard sees Rowan as a challenge—Faraday was one of Goddard's biggest adversaries and his moral and ethical opposite, so being able to turn Rowan into a soulless killer would be a major victory for him. Goddard is fundamentally corrupt, and after kidnapping Esme, Xenocrates's illegitimate and illegal daughter, he blackmails Xenocrates into trying to get rid of Citra and make sure that Rowan will be the one to become a scythe. Rowan's training with Goddard consists mostly of practicing gleaning on live, paid volunteers, which effectively desensitizes Rowan to the act of killing. This all backfires, however, when Goddard leads his crew and Rowan in a mass gleaning at a Tonist cloister. Though Goddard attempts to make Rowan perform his first gleaning, Rowan brutally kills Goddard instead, insisting that Goddard turned him into the coldhearted, calculating killer capable of doing such a thing.

Scythe Goddard Quotes in Scythe

The Scythe quotes below are all either spoken by Scythe Goddard or refer to Scythe Goddard. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Scythe published in 2017.
Chapter 5 Quotes

When it was decided that people needed to die in order to ease the tide of population growth, it was also decided that this must be the responsibility of humans. Bridge repair and urban planning could be handled by the Thunderhead, but taking a life was an act of conscience and consciousness. Since it could not be proven that the Thunderhead had either, the Scythedom was born.

Related Characters: Scythe Curie (speaker), Scythe Goddard
Related Symbols: Thunderhead
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

The idea that not all scythes were good was something neither Rowan or Citra had ever considered. It was widely accepted that scythes adhered to the highest moral and ethical standards. They were wise in their dealings and fair in their choices. Even the ones who sought celebrity were seen to deserve it. The idea that some scythes might not be as honorable as Scythe Faraday did not sit well with either of his new apprentices.

Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

"Never lose your humanity," Scythe Faraday had told him, "or you'll be nothing more than a killing machine." He had used the word "killing" rather than "gleaning." Rowan hadn't thought much of it at the time, but now he understood; it stopped being gleaning the moment one became desensitized to the act.

Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:

"Embrace it, Rowan. Suckle at its transformative breast. You may think gleaning is an acquired taste, but it's not. The thrill of the hunt and the joy of the kill simmers in all of us. Bring it to the surface and then you'll be the kind of scythe this world needs."

Related Characters: Scythe Goddard (speaker), Rowan Damisch
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27 Quotes

"I was headstrong and stupid in my early days. I thought that by gleaning just the right people at just the right time, I could change the world for the better. I believed, in my arrogance, that I had a keen grasp of the big picture that others lack. But of course, I was just as limited as everyone else."

Related Characters: Scythe Curie (speaker), Citra Terranova, Scythe Goddard
Page Number: 273
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

Tyger left with the other professional party people, with whom he seemed to share much more in common now than with Rowan. Rowan wondered if there was anyone from his old life he could relate to anymore.

Page Number: 311
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 29 Quotes

"But if this really is a scandal in the Scythedom—"

"—then your best possible position would be to achieve scythehood yourself, and fight it from the inside."

Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Scythe LitChart as a printable PDF.
Scythe PDF

Scythe Goddard Character Timeline in Scythe

The timeline below shows where the character Scythe Goddard appears in Scythe. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...talk with the woman next to him until, five minutes before takeoff, a scythe (Scythe Goddard) enters the plane. He's wearing robes that are royal blue with diamonds and is accompanied... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
The businessman stays in the plane and approaches Goddard when Goddard calls him. The scythe in orange has a flamethrower out, but Goddard tells... (full context)
Chapter 9
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...healthily to control her weight. As she bites into her pizza, four scythes, including Scythe Goddard, appear at the food court. They begin to kill everyone in the food court. Esme... (full context)
Chapter 13
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...studded with diamonds. Faraday doesn't try to hide his distaste when he says that's Scythe Goddard. Both Rowan and Citra have heard of Goddard, which makes Faraday suspicious, but they both... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...people with too much Spanic in their ratios. Xenocrates also reads an anonymous note accusing Goddard of unnecessary cruelty in his gleaning. Nobody owns up to the accusation and Xenocrates moves... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...pushing agendas, and building alliances. Faraday doesn't join in on any of this. Rowan watches Goddard the most and has the distinct feeling that Goddard is aware of Rowan's gaze. (full context)
Chapter 14
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...apprentices, the focus of the Scythedom slips. At the end of the day, one of Goddard's group, Scythe Rand, stands and says she takes issue with Faraday's two apprentices. She suggests... (full context)
Chapter 15
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...about them, and he privately thinks this is an attack on Scythe Faraday by Scythe Goddard. Citra suggests they both fail, but Faraday assures her that they'll choose one of them... (full context)
Chapter 16
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
In his gleaning journal, Scythe Goddard rails against how the other scythes tried to direct his behavior at conclave. He says... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
An executive, Maxim Easley, opens the door of his mansion to find Scythe Goddard and his followers on his doorstep. He maintains a poker face as he learns that... (full context)
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Desperately, Maxim tries to offer Goddard anything. Goddard says he wants Maxim's estate and puts a knife to Maxim's throat when... (full context)
Chapter 17
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...have offered to take over the teens' training. Scythe Curie will take Citra, while Scythe Goddard will take Rowan. (full context)
Chapter 18
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...things her own way. Citra asks why Curie took her on. Curie says that Scythe Goddard offered to take both Citra and Rowan, but she couldn't bear the thought of him... (full context)
Chapter 20
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Scythe Goddard writes that when he was young, he thought it was stupid that in the mortal... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
While Scythe Volta accompanies Rowan to Goddard's residence, Rowan starts thinking to himself that he's going to die. He and Citra are... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...out into the middle of a loud party. A servant leads them to a pool. Goddard is lounging next to it and greets Rowan warmly. Rowan tries to refuse champagne, but... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...young girl playing in the pool. He comments that a guest brought their kid, but Goddard says the girl is Esme and she's the most important person in attendance. Goddard says... (full context)
Chapter 21
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
The party at Scythe Goddard's mansion continues for another day. Rowan almost enjoys it, but he's jerked back to earth... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...with genuine compassion. Late the next day, Esme visits Rowan. Rowan asks why she's with Goddard, and she explains that he told her to follow after gleaning at a mall. Rowan... (full context)
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Goddard visits Rowan on the third day. He helps Rowan out of bed and stands him... (full context)
Chapter 23
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Scythe Goddard writes that his purpose is the opposite of the Thunderhead's. While the Thunderhead sustains humanity,... (full context)
Chapter 24
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Scythe Goddard writes that gleanings should be iconic so that they achieve immortality in the collective memory.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...is desensitized to it. One afternoon, after Rowan gleans five dummies with a samurai sword, Goddard reprimands him for "attacking like a bot." Goddard says that Rowan needs to embrace his... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Rowan spends his days training with Goddard, Chomsky, Volta, and Rand. Rowan often disagrees with what Goddard says, but he never argues.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Rowan grows strong and muscular. He writes thoughtful things in his journal, but it's not genuine—Goddard reads everything. Rowan sometimes ignores his vow to let Citra win the scythehood, and he... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Esme lurks around Goddard's mansion and continues to perplex Rowan. She seems to like Rowan and tells him to... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
One day, Rowan arrives for training to find Chomsky, Volta, and Rand there with Goddard and a bunch of people. Rowan realizes with horror that he's going to practice gleaning... (full context)
Chapter 25
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...journal, Rowan writes that he's amazed at what's happened in the last few months. Scythe Goddard is training him to be a deadly weapon, and he looks forward to performing well... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
The helicopter lands on the roof at Magnetic Propulsion Laboratories. Goddard, Chomsky, Rand, Volta, and Rowan push past a security guard, and the scythes race down... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
The building is on fire when Goddard leads Rowan and his followers out. He points out to Rowan that the firefighters can't... (full context)
Chapter 26
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Scythe Goddard serves his scythes a feast that night. He, Chomsky, and Rand seem thrilled with their... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Rowan understands now that Esme is a prisoner here too. He asks her if Goddard ever really talks to her, and if she knows why he granted her immunity. Esme... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...doesn't want anything. Volta lets Rowan down and apologizes. He says that after being around Goddard, it's easy to think that everyone schemes. He says too that Goddard sees Rowan as... (full context)
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Rowan whispers that he thinks Goddard is a killer, not a scythe, and killing like Goddard does is wrong. Volta says... (full context)
Chapter 27
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...bad scythe is laziness, prejudice, and a lack of foresight. Today, bad scythes like Scythe Goddard are called innovative. Citra and Curie watch a few videos of Goddard's gleaning at the... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
At Harvest Conclave, Goddard and his group arrive in a diamond-studded limousine. Nobody notices Rowan trailing behind. Curie and... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
People surround Rowan before he can find Citra. Young apprentices ask what Goddard is like and speak poorly of their own mentors. Rowan misses Faraday, who would've known... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Conclave proceeds as the last one did. Someone again anonymously accuses Goddard of being too generous with granting immunity, but Xenocrates waves this away. Curie tries to... (full context)
Chapter 28
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Scythe Goddard brightly toasts Rowan when he, Volta, Chomsky, and Rand get home. Rowan sees Esme watching... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Goddard tells Rowan that parties like this are how people are supposed to live. Rowan wonders... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...and he can tell that Xenocrates doesn't want to be there. Volta settles himself near Goddard to listen in on their conversation. Xenocrates asks if Goddard is concerned about his ostentatious... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Xenocrates looks terrified as Esme sits on Goddard's lap. Volta wonders why Xenocrates is so uncomfortable and why Goddard is pushing the issue.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...irritated with Tyger and wonders if he can relate to anyone from his old life. Goddard notices Rowan, and the two discuss Tyger and the fact that Rowan saw Xenocrates jump... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...father. Rowan says slowly that Esme won't be gleaned as long as Xenocrates does what Goddard wants. (full context)
Chapter 29
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...the page out, burns it, and then writes about his training and how motivating Scythe Goddard is. (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...Rowan, Curie says that Rowan's choice to break Citra's neck suggests he's in league with Goddard. She tells Citra to forget this, achieve scythehood, and fight the scandal from the inside.... (full context)
Chapter 34
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
...a skilled killer and enjoys killing. Volta suggests one day that they break off from Goddard after Rowan is ordained, but Rowan knows that Volta won't follow through. Volta points out... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...ethics of being a scythe. She knows that Rowan hasn't learned any of that with Goddard, but she still wonders if he learned enough with Faraday to believe it still. She... (full context)
Chapter 35
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Scythe Goddard writes in his journal that most of the Scythedom's traditions and rules need to be... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Three days before Winter Conclave, on the last day of the year, Goddard decides to glean once more, shouting at Volta when Volta points out that they've reached... (full context)
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Goddard leads the group to a Tonist cloister and says they're going to glean them all.... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...they're supposed to be, but when Rowan says that they can work together to stop Goddard, Volta says it's all over. Rowan realizes that the blood is from Volta's own wrists.... (full context)
Chapter 36
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Rowan finds Goddard in the chapel with just the curate alive. Goddard brightly tells Rowan that he can... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...himself into gleaning the curate. He pulls out his sword, steps forward, and realizes that Goddard always had him leave one person alive in his training to prepare him for real... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Rowan steps outside wearing Goddard's robe and ring. He tells the assembled firefighters that the fire is scythe action. The... (full context)
Chapter 37
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Two days after Goddard's death, Xenocrates sits with Rowan and promises to ban fire in conclave. He marvels that... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...gems from their rings and their robes, but they haven't found either the diamonds from Goddard's robes or his ring. Goddard's skeleton also has no skull. Rowan suggests the investigators need... (full context)
Chapter 39
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...realize that scythes are only upset that scythes died; they're not at all upset that Goddard gleaned Tonists. (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...murmurs to Citra that though the fire was terrible, some scythes are glad to see Goddard gone. The motion passes. At six that evening, a scythe calls up candidates for the... (full context)