The character of The Fates in The Penelopiad from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

The Penelopiad

The Fates Character Analysis

The Fates are mysteries figures in Greek mythology that decide the destiny and lifespans of mortal humans. They are three old women who spin thread, measuring it out to determine the length of people’s lives. The Fates are more powerful than the other Greek gods and goddesses (even Zeus) and cannot be tricked by mortals.

The Fates Quotes in The Penelopiad

The The Penelopiad quotes below are all either spoken by The Fates or refer to The Fates . 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:
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Canongate Books edition of The Penelopiad published in 2006.
Chapter 10 Quotes

Nine months he sailed the wine-red seas of his mother’s blood…
In his frail dark boat, the boat of himself,
Through the dangerous ocean of his vast mother he sailed
From the distant cave where the threads of men’s lives are spun,
Then measured, and then cut short
By the Three Fatal Sisters, intent on their gruesome handicrafts,
And the lives of women also are twisted into the strand…

Related Characters: The Twelve Maids (speaker), Telemachus , The Fates
Related Symbols: Weaving and Fiber Work , Water
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Fates Character Timeline in The Penelopiad

The timeline below shows where the character The Fates appears in The Penelopiad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: The Trusted Cackle-Hen
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
Christianity vs. Greek Religion Theme Icon
...he was able to find them out, supposedly he would be able to master the Fates and control his destiny. While Odysseus found the idea appealing, he thought it was not... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Chorus Line: The Birth of Telemachus, An Idyll
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
Class, Womanhood, and Violence Theme Icon
Christianity vs. Greek Religion Theme Icon
...of himself.” This journey is characterized as a dangerous trip from the cave where the Fates live—where they spin the threads that determine men’s lives and then cut them when it’s... (full context)
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
Class, Womanhood, and Violence Theme Icon
Christianity vs. Greek Religion Theme Icon
...who would eventually be killed by Telemachus and Odysseus, made the same journey from the Fates’ cave across the oceans of their peasant mothers’ blood until they came to shore after... (full context)
Christianity vs. Greek Religion Theme Icon
...underwater and blaming it on the waves. Then they command the audience to ask the Fates, since only they know how history could have been altered, and only they know the... (full context)
Chapter 12: Waiting
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
...across as clever and good, only unable to come home because the gods or the Fates were against him. In return for these complimentary but obviously untrue songs, Penelope gave the... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Chorus Line: The Wily Sea Captain, A Sea Shanty
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
Christianity vs. Greek Religion Theme Icon
...while they were doing laundry. The Maids say that no one can tell what the Fates have in store, not even Odysseus, and then they toast to his health once more,... (full context)