Charon is the ferryman of the underworld. For a fee, he would bring the dead across the River Styx that separated the world of the living from the world of the dead. Those who could not pay the fee were forced to wander the shores of the river as Wraiths for eternity (or one hundred years depending on the recount). In the catabasis mytheme, heroes — such as Heracles and Dionysus — journey to the underworld and return, still alive, conveyed by the ferry of Charon.
In various depictions, Charon is just an old man who ferries the living through the river styx. In other depictions, he is shown as an undead, with grotesque traits, and is sometimes depicted as been attached to the boat by his torso, essentially ending in him been the boat himself.
In Popular Culture
- Charon appears in the God of War video games series. He first appears in God of War: Chains of Olympus, game in which he is killed by Kratos. He does not appear physically, but a carving of him appears in Persephone's shrine in God of War III.
- Charon appears in the graphic adventure game King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. In it he ferries the protagonist Prince Alexander of Daventry across the Styx.
- Charon appears in the 2010 film Clash of the Titans.