It's all just so muddy. Sure, Dukat needed validation - he needed to be the hero, the leader. But did he need to be perceived as the hero because deep down he thought he wasn't? Or did he need to be perceived as the hero because he thought he was? That it would be only right, only fair, that everybody realize what a great guy he was and that anything else would be a gross injustice?
In theory, someone who is a great writer or painter and is confident about that shouldn't need public validation. Yet most of them really want it, right? What's the point, most of us would say, at least at times about our various talents and skills and character traits, of having these wonderful attributes if nobody seems to notice them?
But that's the funny thing--some of the most talented people are extremely insecure on the deepest levels. Look at Hemingway--he ended his life, even.
And that's kind of how Dukat struck me. But I agree that it is equally possible that he was a mass of self doubts who used the admiration of others as a drug to mask his need.
Either way...what a great character, eh?
It's hard to explain what I think happened, but I think he started out as the second option for sure. The question is, to what extent did he "succeed" in killing whatever he was before he did this to himself? I think he began living a lie and then became
(or nearly became) the lie. And yet I think there was still something at a very deep level that was by the critical point too atrophied and too unaccustomed to actually living
to be able to help him come back to himself at the two points when I think he had his greatest chance. (When he found Ziyal, and when Ziyal died.)