Does the author ever elicit sympathy towards Dracula?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that this is one of the defining elements of Stoker's work.  It seems to me that there is a clear division between what represents salvation and what represents condemnation.  Dracula seems to be lumped into the latter.  In this, I don't sense much in way of sympathy for Dracula.  Stoker seems to be constructing Victorian standards of social acceptability and Dracula exists on the outside of these elements.  I don't see the complexity of sympathy and empathy entering into this.  His death at the end of the novel seems to be the statement of society exercising justice against a force that stood against it.  There is little in way of sympathy for this figure.  While Stoker explains the origin of Dracula, he does not make him out to be a tragic figure.  If he were to do so, one would view him differently and his pursuit in a different light.  At the same time, in ensuring that there is not much in way of sympathy for Dracula, the victimization of Mina and Lucy can be clearly viewed as threatening or menacing.  In this, the plot's primary motivation can be accessed without emotional intricacy.  In this light, I don't see Stoker creating an aura of sympathy and sadness for Dracula.