What Is the Symbolism in "Dracula"?

The primary symbols in Bram Stroker's novel "Dracula" include the stake that goes through Lucy's heart, the three odd sisters in Dracula's castle and the "Czarina Catherine," the ship that Dracula uses to flee England. Each of these impacts the themes of the novel in a meaningful way.

The ship "Czarina Catherine" takes its name from the Russian ruler who developed a reputation for promiscuity. The reference to this ship points the reader toward the peril in which Mina Harker lives. If Van Helsing and his crew do not prevail, Mina will change into an appetite-driven slattern much like Lucy.

When Arthur Holmwood drives a stake into Lucy's heart, he wants to kill her demonic nature and make her that innocent young woman he had loved. The language at this point in the novel is thoroughly sexual, which means that the stake is a stand-in for Arthur's penis, as he is Lucy's fiancé, according to SparkNotes. Arthur punishes Lucy for being a vampire, but he also seeks recompense for her making herself available to the seduction of the vampire, as Dracula cannot attack anyone who is unwilling. The killing of demonic Lucy makes her once more Arthur's virtuous fiancée.

Harker runs into three gorgeous vampires in Dracula's castle, but they are both a dream and a nightmare for him. These women stand for the opposite of the Victorian ideal for women, as they are both voluptuous and aggressive with their sexual desire. Harker gets more of a chance for pleasure from them in this brief passage than he has from his fiancée throughout the entire book. However, the fact that sexually bold women might compromise the rationality of men means that they must not be allowed to survive.