Should Readers Sympathize With The Antagonist?

This is not a necessity.

Often, the antagonist's function is simply to act as a benchmark for the hero's capacities, his or her willingness and ability to let go.

In Hangover (2009), when we first meet Melissa, it's obvious that Stu needs to break away from her but cannot. As the journey and story progress, so he is able to stop taking her phone calls, indicating that he is increasingly able to let go. Finally, he returns home and breaks up with her.

Your primary goal is to ensure that the antagonist performs it's core function. You may or may not want to overlay that function with character (sympathetic or not).

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  1. Interesting insight, Mr. Bashir:))))
    But Stu had to survive long trip to tell her his feelings. Antagonist would not have fulfilled its function without the journey

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  3. @Tara,
    Sure. You need to go through the journey to change. The interaction with the antagonist upon return benchmarks the final change; what the hero has become; what s/he is now capable of; that s/he is now able to let go; that s/he is no longer bound by the earlier limitations etc.