Nerys Dukat wrote:
I think you're right--perhaps it was an ideal of Ziyal that he loved, not the real person.
But I'm wondering...does anyone else think that perhaps he saw in her what he could have been but never had the courage to become?
I honestly don't. I think he already believed he was as perfect as a Cardassian could get. He didn't have the self-awareness to aspire to be anything else. I think he believed he loved her because of her worshipful attitude toward him. When that attitude began to fade, so did his affection. I also think that what DiaboliKate said has a lot of merit. Once she was dead, he could cling to the ideal. The real Ziyal was no longer around to confront him about his bad behavior or disapprove of him.