The Three Fates:

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Overview:
The Three Fates, all throughout history, are commonly represented as a trio of female deities who shape the destinies of all beings, mortals and gods alike. Though there are a number of cultures who have very similar depictions of the fates in their roots, they are most commonly associated with Greek mythology.

Descriptions:
The Fates, in Greek mythology, are most often referred to by two names. The first being The Graeae, which translates to “old women”, “Gray ones”, “Gray Sisters”, or “Gray Witches.” When they are known by this name they are typically depicted as three very old women, all of whom share a single eye and a single tooth. The other common name for the trio is Moirae, which means, “the apportioners” or “those who allot.” And when called the Moirae, they are three women (of varying age) who are summoned to determine the course of a newborn’s life.
Often they are considered the spinners of life. One sister spins the thread, while another measures it out, and a third cuts it. Meaning one creates life, another determines the destiny, and the third ends the life. All beings, mortal and immortal, are subject to their influence. This being said, it’s possible to manipulate them; as has been done in many a myth.

In Greek mythology, the lineage of these women is disputed. It has been found that they are at times considered as daughters of Nyx (or night). Other times they are called the daughters of Zeus (the leader of the gods) and Themis (the goddess of justice). Yet there are also tales of them being sisters to the Gorgons (Medusa and her snake haired sisters). This has naturally caused much confusion about their origins, making it a mystery.

Archetypal examples related to the Fates:
Generally the fates are not always considered an archetype as a whole. It is the parts that make up their character that distinguishes them, and are used as archetypal symbols. Thread is a perfect example. It is a linking symbol that connects many different states of being to one another, into a unifying origin; for it is thread which they use to represent life in the basic description of the Fates. Scissors are another archetypal symbol that is tied into the Fates. Scissors are a ceremonial tool whose action of cutting marks the culmination and opening of a new project or an ending of a sequence. As the scissors are used by the Fates to cut and end the thread of life. Another archetype that is related to the Three Fates is the idea of the female trio. Such as the Sirens are often seen in groups of three, or the Gorgons are a triad of terrible creatures.
Literary Allusions: The Three Fates do not play a direct role in the Odyssey. By this, it is meant that they are not actual physical characters in the tale. But, Homer does refer to fate itself, which is a type of allusion that the fates represent. Practically anytime that a character admits that they must endure, for their fate is set can be inferred as a reference to the Three Fates. Also the representation of Tiresias, being an archetypal seer, can be seen as an allusion to the Three Fates as well.
The Three Fates are found in many ancient myths and legends. Given that they are immortal, and are not subject to anyones will, they are still shown as being able to be manipulated. Most frequently they are used as seers, and are simply a tool of a hero or villain for the purpose of information. It is because of their knowledge of all destiny and life that they are used as such. In the tale of Perseus, Perseus must seek out the Greaea (three fates) and coerce them into telling him where the Gorgons reside. He steals from them their one precious eye, when they are in the process of passing it from one another and uses it to obtain his desired information. The Three Fates also play a significant role in the Disney film, Hercules! There, Hades uses them to predict the allignment of the planets and his own destiny. They are also shown cutting the threads of many peoples lives.

The Fates and how they're known in multiple cultures:To the Greeks they are most commonly known as the Moirae. And they are called Clotho, the one who spins the thread of life, and Lachesis the one who determines the length of the thread of life, and Atropos the one who cuts the thread of life.To the Romans they were known as the Parcae. They were individually known as Decuma, Morta, and Nona. Each respectively being the counterpart to the Greek fate mentioned above.The Norse even had versions of the Fates, they were called the Norn. But here they were known as Urd, representing the past, Verdandi, for the present, and Skuld, for the future. Slightly different in the representation when juxtaposed with the Roman and Greek fates.And even Anglo-Saxon culture had it's own sort of representation of the Three Fates. They viewed the three major phases of the moon (waxing, full, and waning) as separate entities.