Dukat's love for Ziyal--genuine or selfish?

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Nerys Ghemor, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    Indeed!

    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.)
     
  2. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree - it's one of the things I see in that last encounter in the Fire Caves. He's not getting the Emissary of the Prophets to bow to him. He's getting Benjamin Sisko, the man who took his station- TWICE- and who is getting the love, respect, and adoration from the Bajorans he feels he deserved to bow to him, to show that Dukat is the greater man, even if he has to force it out of him. That's what's important to him in that moment. Now that he has the power to exert some control over Sisko, he's using that. To him, that moment is part of the conflict between the Prophets and the Pai-Wraths. It's just between those two men.
     
  3. Bluesteel

    Bluesteel Commander Red Shirt

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    I always thought that he cared for Ziyal only because Kira cared for her. He wanted to impress her.
     
  4. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So you don't think he loved Ziyal, but you believe he loved Kira so deeply and passionately to risk losing his career, social standing in the Cardassian Union, his mother, his wife and his 7 Cardassian children? :cardie:

    And you really think that makes more sense than the idea that Dukat loved his daughter? :vulcan:
     
  5. Bluesteel

    Bluesteel Commander Red Shirt

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    I thought Dukat after a while was a really stupid character who did really stupid things. Probably because he was insane and the people close to him like Damar liked to ignore that. So yeah that's right. He's going to kill his daughter but NO! Kira protests and he realizes if he wants some Bajoran booty he can't kill her. He takes care of her and becomes a model father to impress Kira.
     
  6. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Goodness. I am not a great believer in Dukat the perfect and loving father (I think he was a wretched father, who still loved his daughter on some twisted level) but that's a bit too cynical and twisted even for how I imagine Dukat!

    It is an interesting theory - really - but I can't see it. I realize we are talking about fictional characters here, but even within that framework, it just isn't realistic. I cannot even begin to imagine how an actor could play somebody like that.

    Edit: It would be like being handed a list of unrelated character traits (stupid, insane, wants to kill daughter, desperate for sex with a particular woman) and being told "There. Play somebody like that." Which would be impossible, I think, because I doubt that there is anyone "like that."
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  7. Bluesteel

    Bluesteel Commander Red Shirt

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    If what I heard is true. Alaimo was playing Dukat the genocidal dictator of Bajor and Cardassia has a good guy. I'm pretty sure an actor like him would find a way to get into the soul of Dukat.
     
  8. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Alaimo is a fine actor and he could certainly get into the soul of a believable character, or even a semi-believable character. I'd even go farther and say he could bring even a semi-believable character alive for me - he's that good. It's just that although I find your concept of Dukat's motivation interesting, I don't find it at all believable - not semi-believable and certainly not believable. Either I'm misunderstanding you, which is a possibility, or we just flat-out disagree. Sorry!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  9. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :cardie: :vulcan: :brickwall:


    More importantly, it doesn't make any sense. :vulcan:

    When it comes to Dukat, the character in DS9, one thing he certainly never was is stupid. Neither was he insane before "Sacrifice of Angels".

    The character Bluesteel describes seems like a badly written character in some really bad comedy/parody ("American Pie" meets "The Last King of Scotland"?). Or maybe a bad fanfic that attempts to be humorous.

    What does it mean, "playing him as a good guy"? Whether Dukat is a good guy or not depends on his actions and the way we perceive them, and the former depends on the script, while the latter depends on the viewers. The only thing an actor can do is try to understand their character, perhaps interpret their motivations in a certain way and imagine their background, have the character's point of view in mind - which is, IMO, a much better way to play a character than to tell yourself "I'm supposed to be the bad guy, so I'll just try to look very evil and make the viewers hate me". Especially since most people who do horrible things in real life think of themselves as good guys, or at least no worse people than everyone else (there are exceptions, but they're rare - you won't find many people who actually think of themselves as evil and are content to be evil).
     
  10. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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:
    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?
     
  11. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That WAS interesting, and I wonder...do you think part of the reason Dukat cracked when Ziyal was killed was because right then he was at the most vulnerable he'd ever been in a long time? In other words--his guard was down and he was so unused to being like that that he simply couldn't withstand the blow when he lost her.
     
  12. Bones2

    Bones2 Commodore Commodore

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    No, Dukat cracked when Ziyal was killed because she was his daughter and he loved her.

    Good grief, sometimes it really is that simple.
     
  13. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well yes, but Nerys might be referring to the fact that parents who lose a child they love don't necessarily lose their mind.

    My mother lost my brother when he was 7 - 3 years before I was born. At the time she was divorced and he was her only child. She loved him a lot and always talked a lot about him, a and she believed that a child was by far the most important thing for a parent, and horrible it is for a parent to lose a child. So I'm pretty sure that it was a horrible blow for her and that she suffered a lot. But she did not go insane when he died.
     
  14. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    DevilEyes...exactly. Jack Walsh didn't go nuts when he lost Adam--even though the manner of death surely could've been considered ample cause. Many other people have had horrors happen in their life, even seen it happen right in front of them. Look at people who live in war zones. Yeah, there will be those who come unhinged, but many endure incredible atrocities and come out sane, even though they are scarred.

    Yet Dukat DID go nuts. That couldn't have happened without ANYTHING prior there to set up the potential--or at least it would be quite unlikely.
     
  15. Bones2

    Bones2 Commodore Commodore

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    Bad writing, or maybe symptomatic of the very high value Cardassians put on family? Or maybe some parents don't lose their minds when they lose a child, but Dukat did.
     
  16. mysticgeek

    mysticgeek Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well, I need to weigh in on this conversation which will inevitably irritate DiaboliKate and DevilEyes... and others ... but here I go...

    There is no question that Dukat loved Ziyal. Look at what happened to him after Damar shot her. He completely lost it. If he only appreciated her as some kind of token he wouldn't have snapped the way he did and let the Federation capture him. Dukat is a complicated but loving individual who not many seem to understand. He is cast a villain and many feel the need to hate him just for that fact. However, if you study the character, he is an intelligent kind and loving person.
    He also loved Kira ... and they would have made a great couple... but that is an argument for another time.
     
  17. PSGarak

    PSGarak Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    People snap and go insane/nuts over people they view as tokens and objects all the time. Look at abusive men and the women who are unfortunate enough to live with them. She leaves, they go apeshit, and kill her, themselves, the kids, the family dog, any combination of the above; the world is full of such examples of extremely dysfunctional "love" that is in no way kind, healthy, or benevolent. Obsession is not love.
     
  18. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Besides (re. your "will inevitably irritate DevilEyes and Diabolikate"), not once in this thread have I said that I believe Dukat didn't love Ziyal. I am actually fairly sure he did. But that love was so...so bogged down in selfishness and self-centeredness that you would have had to dig pretty deep to find it.

    Let's just say that I've seen much better, purer, more all-conquering, more unselfish examples of fatherly love lots of times - in TV shows and in real life. My guess would be that just about everybody has. I certainly hope so.

    Going crazy after she died isn't proof, though, any more than staying sane after someone you love dies is proof that you didn't really love that person.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  19. PSGarak

    PSGarak Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Excellent point. If people were prone to insanity after death of loved ones, we'd all be in a great deal of trouble, or if real love caused insanity when lost, and anything else was just...what, habit? That wouldn't make much sense from a survival standpoint. Dysfunction or functionality, or instability and stability aren't measures of love and can operate quite independently of pretty much any emotion.