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Old October 23 2009, 07:27 PM   #50
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Re: Dukat's love for Ziyal--genuine or selfish?

Browncoat wrote: View Post
Marie1 wrote: View Post
I think he loved her when he had no one else, and there are strong ties to family with Cardassians (even if his other family left him for not killing her- that one of several times).

But at times he clearly only was using her to get to people like Kira, and you can't turn real love off and on like that.
I disagree that he was using Ziyal to get Kira. I think that he and Kira really did have a common bond over Ziyal, one that had begun from the moment Ziyal was found and Kira convinced Dukat (who was close to making an honor killing) not to murder her.

Then Kira took Ziyal off his ship to give her a more secure, stable home, and vowed to protect the girl. This is when Kira and Dukat were "getting along" in their own way.

The bond they shared over Ziyal was real, and Dukat didn't want to use Ziyal to exploit Kira, he wanted to increase the bond between himself and Kira, which had started over Ziyal.
They were happy and got along as strange parents to Ziyal, and though Dukat was indeed a villain character, he was very familial (as are many Cardassians). I can see him deciding that Kira, Ziyal, and himself was the family unit he desired, and attempting to strengthen that.

But just to get Kira in bed? While his methods to attract Kira were uncouth and holdovers from the Occupation, I doubt he was just trying to get her in bed. Besides, he knew Kira wouldn't fall for something like that, and would be too smart to try to trick her. I think he honestly wanted something more, and was too much of a fool to know how to go about getting it.
You have a point there. I wasn't exactly thinking that way before, but I think you may be right that a big part of his fixation on Kira (in addition to his desire to receive a symbolic acceptance from Bajor, which she represented to him) was a desire to re-create his Bajoran family unit, with Kira replacing Naprem - especially after he had lost his Cardassian family unit. Come to think of it, although he's shown an attraction to Kira before, he never did much about it before Ziyal entered the picture. Dukat is one of those guys who have a need for family and place a lot of importance in it, although their particular brand of "family man" has no problems having more than one family at a time (usually one official, one unofficial).

I have been thinking about the subject of this thread, and the reason I have been unsure how to answer is that I am not sure if I agree with the distinction in the title. What is genuine love? Is a selfish love not genuine? If we accept this distinction, we are really judging the quality of love, not its very existence or strength. Different people love in different ways - depending on their personality - but I think that people who actually can't feel love at all are very rare. OTOH, how many people can be said to be able to love in a completely unselfish way? Some people do, but most people expect to something in return, and are not satisfied if they don't have their love returned; they want to feel loved, respected, appreciated. Many parents love their children a lot, but still expect them to fulfill their expectations, make them proud, follow in their footsteps etc. - so, it can be said that they are viewing the children as extensions of themselves. Many children love their parents a lot, but that love was borne out of having been raised, loved and taken care of by those parents. How many people are able to give love without expecting anything in return? You might even ask, if people love without expecting anything in return, is it really because they are, deep inside, enjoying the idea of being such a wonderful, giving person? (And using someone to make you feel good about yourself can, again, be seen as selfish...)

"Does X genuinely love Y?" can mean two things: 1) literally that - does X feel love for Y, or is X just lying/pretending? This is a straightforward issue, and in this case, it is obvious that Dukat did feel a strong love for Ziyal, the evidence of which we have seen at least twice - in season 4 when he took her back to Cardassia and put everything on the line for her, and in "Sacrifice of Angels", when he goes mad after her death, and doesn't care about anything else. In that matter, I like to invoke the simple wisdom of Commander/Admiral Adama:
Adama: Did you love her?
Thought I did.
Well, when you think you love somebody, you love them.
Or 2) "Does X's love for Y satisfy our idea of what love should be like?" which is a very different matter.

So, was it genuine? Yes. Was it selfish? To quite a degree, yes. I think a big part of the reason why he loved Ziyal so much was that she loved him so much, and she loved him unconditionally. We saw that in his reactions to her expressions of love twice: in "Indiscretion", the moment when he changed his mind about killing her was when she expressed her love for him; and at the end of "Sacrifice of Angels". Dukat seemed to be somewhat emotionally immature - he expected people close to him (especially his child) to approve of everything he did and obey him, and was prone to see their refusal to do so as betrayal, and to react with anger and rejection, as he did when Ziyal refused to leave the station in season 5. The scene in "Sacrifice of Angels" - when he looked very moved and ran over to her when she told him "I love you" wasan interesting and perhaps crucial moment for him, as he seemed to understand for the first time that Ziyal could love him while not agreeing with the things he did, opposing him and fighting against him; and he seemed to care more about her love than her 'betrayal'. That's unconditional love, which he most likely never got from his mother (who disowned him for having a half-Bajoran child) and probably not from his other children, if they sided with their mother (we don't know what his father was like, but he was dead at the time, anyway). Ziyal was the only one who would love him no matter what, which had to appeal to him, especially since he seemed to be the kind of person who is obsessed with being loved and adored. It would have been interesting to see, what would have happened, what Dukat would have done, if Ziyal hadn't died?
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