Despair


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Despair

See also Futility.
Detection, Crime (See SLEUTHING.)
Destiny (See FATE.)
Achitophel
hanged himself from despair when his advice went unheeded. [O.T.: II Samuel 17:23]
Aram, Eugene
scholar murders from pressure of poverty. [Br. Lit.: Eugene Aram]
Bowery, the
Manhattan skid row for alcoholics. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 97]
Giant Despair
imprisons Christian and Hopeful in Doubting Castle. [Br. Lit.: Pilgrim’s Progress]
Hrothgar
Danish king desperately distressed by warrior-killing monster. [Br. Lit.: Beowulf]
Maurya
mother loses six sons in the sea. [Br. Lit.: Riders to the Sea]
Melusina
fairy who despaired when husband discovered secret. [Fr. Folklore: Brewer Handbook, 695]
Narcissus
wastes away yearning to kiss reflection of himself. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Handbook, 745; Rom. Lit.: Metamorphoses]
Slough of Despond
bog enmiring and discouraging Christian. [Br. Lit.: Pilgrim’s Progress]
Sullivan brothers
mother despairs over losing her five sons in WWII (1942). [Am. Hist.: Facts (1943), 106]
Tristram
or Tristan falsely told that Iseult is not coming to save him from fatal poisoning, he dies of despair. [Medieval Legend: Brewer Dictionary]
Waiting for Godot
tramps consider hanging themselves because Godot has failed to arrive to set things straight. [Anglo-French Drama: Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot in Magill III, 1113]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Lay of despair, grieve not when thou art gone Forth from this sorrowing heart: my misery Brings fortune to the cause that gave thee birth; Then banish sadness even in the tomb.
Ungrateful, cruel, coy, and fair, Was she that drove him to despair, And Love hath made her his ally For spreading wide his tyranny.
In her despair the young wife called on the old witch to help her, and in a moment the hunter was turned into a frog and his wife into a toad.
Sometimes I could cope with the sullen despair that overwhelmed me, but sometimes the whirlwind passions of my soul drove me to seek, by bodily exercise and by change of place, some relief from my intolerable sensations.
Then I spurred on my animal, striving so to forget the world, my fears, and more than all, myself--or, in a more desperate fashion, I alighted and threw myself on the grass, weighed down by horror and despair.
The evening closing in, his despair changed into melancholy, which was the more gloomy as, involuntarily, Van Baerle mixed up with it the thought of his poor tulip.
Their sister soon despaired of making the smallest impression on them; they were quite untameable by any means of address which she had spirits or time to attempt.
In past days, what hundreds on hundreds of times they had torn off the cover which inclosed the newspaper, and looked at the same column with the same weary mingling of hope and despair! There to-day--as it was yesterday; as it would be, if they lived, to-morrow--there was the servant with Lucy's newspaper and Clara's newspaper in his hand!
she bore it with a strange unnatural resignation--she looked, she spoke, with the sad self-possession of despair.
The resentment of Mr Allworthy, and the injury he must do to his quiet, argued strongly against this latter; and lastly, the apparent impossibility of his success, even if he would sacrifice all these considerations to it, came to his assistance; and thus honour at last backed with despair, with gratitude to his benefactor, and with real love to his mistress, got the better of burning desire, and he resolved rather to quit Sophia, than pursue her to her ruin.
Poverty appeared to them suddenly, --not hideous, but plainly clothed, almost easy to endure; its voice had nothing terrifying; with it came neither spectres, nor despair, nor rags; but it made them lose the memory and the habits of comfort; it dried the springs of pride.
It was the body which despaired of the earth--it heard the bowels of existence speaking unto it.