"a tragic and familiar Shade"
The Shade of Samuel Invoked by Saul (1857)
Public DomainThe Shade of Samuel Invoked by Saul (1857) - Credit: D. Martynov
Charon Ferrying the Shades (c. 1735-40)
Public DomainCharon Ferrying the Shades (c. 1735-40) - Credit: Pierre Subleyras

A shade is a spirit or ghost that dwells within the Underworld.

Shades feature in the Bible (in the First Book of Samuel, the Witch of Endor conjures the shade of Samuel), and in Ancient Greek and Roman literature (in Homer's Odyssey, when Odysseus experiences a vision of Hades; and in Virgil's Aeneid, when Aeneas journeys through the Underworld). Dante, in the Divine Comedy, uses the term to refer to the dead, as well as to his spirit guide, Virgil.

The term, which may originate from the Biblical Hebrew tsalmaveth (literally death-shadow), was popularised by Alexander Pope in his epitaph for Nicholas Rowe: Peace to the gentle Shade, and endless Rest.