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Old June 30 2013, 10:31 AM   #1
Charles Phipps
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What's your opinion of Gul Dukat?

Much is made of Gul Dukat and his opinions, personality, plus actions. A lot of people objected to his final season appearances, basically making him the Bajoran Antichrist. Others think he was a complex character filled with both good and evil. While others preferred him as a big old Space Nazi. I was curious what everyone else's take on the Gul was.

My opinion of the Gul is that I think he is an interesting case of being the bigger (and better) villain for the fact that redemption was a possibility for him, from beginning to end. Unlike some Cardassians (Gul Dar'heel, Crell), he doesn't seem to have been a sociopath of mentally ill. Gul Dukat is perfectly capable of love, affection, and (IMHO) a degree of remorse.

It's just the fact that he's so damn good at justifying to himself, evading responsibility, and suppressing his feelings he's able to go through with all manner of horrible atrocities. He's also, in a very real way, a fundamentally weak man. Temptations ranging from sex to power are things he just can't refuse and he finds himself, again, justifying them.

Gul Dukat came to Bajor (just going off the show) wanting to be the savior who made the occupation bearable for the Bajorans, fully expecting them (or maybe just hoping) being less brutal would make things better. As in real life, this just embolded the resistance, though. He couldn't give up his position so he gave into his dark side and found all manner of justifications for what he'd done--that he was "forced" to do. Somewhere, deep inside his (literally) reptilian brain, he knows this is Targ **** but his conscious brain forces it through.

It's why I think the character of Ziyal is so important to Gul Dukat and why he abandoned his legitimate family for her. Ziyal was his redemption as he can look at her and say, "as long as she's alive, I'm the good guy because I spared her life." It allowed him to keep his sanity for a short time.

I don't have much of a problem with the Pah Wraith arc because I just saw it as another stage in Gul Dukat's cycle of running away and reinventing himself. Having his own cult extolling his praises helped him overcome his guilt again. Inside, though, he's a horrible mass of neuroses--all because that 1% of good inside him is like a Klingon pain stick to the skull.
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