"Take away the despair and there is nothing left. Nothing but an empty room, and a hook of the perfect shape and size for snagging your heart." -Endless Nights



Most often seen as a short, naked, gray, rotund woman with pointed teeth and black hair tied into a bun. She has no odor, but her shadow has been described as smelling musky and pungent, like the skin of a snake.

Her sigil is a hooked ring she wears on her left hand which she uses to tear into her flesh. Her realm is a gray, foggy space filled with rats and mirrors which she used to look upon people in their despair.

The incarnation of Despair seen in the bulk of the Sandman episodes is the second incarnation of Despair. In the distant past, she was the first of the Endless to be destroyed and reformed. How or why she was killed is not currently known. It was said “that another aspect of one of us had re-assumed the position.” It is unclear if the current Despair was, like Daniel , another being who became one with the personification of one of the Endless.

The first incarnation of Despair was similar to her second form in shape, but she was taller, marked with intricate lines, had more colour, and she was more talkative.

The First Incarnation of Despair

Despair is Desire's twin, and they often work together with Desire pulling Despair into plots against the elder Endless, particularly Dream.

In 19th century San Francisco, Despair challenged Dream to a contest over a failed businessman, to see which of them had more sway over the lives of mortals. Dream gave Joshua Abraham Norton the dream of being Emperor Norton I, which kept him from falling into depths of despair, as well as keeping him from the traps set by Desire and Delirium. In so doing he won the contest, angering Desire.

Despair seems to be very fond of her brother, Destruction.