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Dracula: Rationality vs Empathy

March 31, 2009

As Dracula concludes, I’m beginning to piece together themes of the novel which intrigued me.  Theme, really.  I’ve noticed how often the ideals of reason, rationality, and sensibility are examined and evaluated as ideals.  There’s one quote in the novel with praise I aspire to be worthy of:

She has man’s brain – a brain that a man should have were he much gifted – and woman’s heart.

Dracula‘s best character (in my opinion) is a strong woman, truly rational and empathetic.  Through her insights, she masterfully leads the plot.  Yet, she’s happy to step back when asked and take a supportive role.

I’d like to think that I strive for this ideal of rationality and empathy, yet of late notice situations where a balance is not easily found.  It’s easy for me to focus so much on rationality I forget empathy.  Mercy takes on a very small role next to justice, which I dole out handily in my judgments of others, and sometimes myself.

I’m far from reaching a conclusion, but things have got me thinking: how do you strike a balance between reason and empathy or justice and mercy?

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