I've only heard of the quote and have yet to read Dracula, but I was wondering what "Despair has its own calms" means?

  • I think it would be more suited for this question to be asked on english.stackexchange.com
    – 2hamed
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 20:40
  • 4
    @James I considered it, but I realized that this isn't an idiom or a phrase on its own, but has a special meaning with context to the book. Thus, I feel like it belongs in the literature stack exchange instead of the english stack exchange.
    – gsingh2011
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 5:33
  • Related: "But I strode on austere. No hope could have no fear." — Thomson
    – user14111
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 8:46

3 Answers 3


"I passed to my room and went to bed, and, strange to say, slept without dreaming. Despair has its own calms."

It helps to see Harker's comment in context. At this point in the story he is growing increasingly frightened and disturbed by the behavior of the Count - each day he despairs more and more as he discovers the depths of his loss of liberty and the threat to his own life.

After a particularly chilling conversation with the Count he retires and sleeps, much to his surprise. The comment is a (short) way of saying, "The human mind has a way of finding some peace, no matter how bad things may be."

  • 2
    + 1 Or, in other words, instead of dreaming something horrible, he simply slept. The full quote is straightforward.
    – Andres F.
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 0:24

I think it means that despair leads to hopelessness; losing hope could lead to peace since it means giving up.


"Despair has its own calm" means when there is no hope; there are no expectations. We do not expect or think what we deserve and what we get. We just make peace with flow.

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