Quote:An old video I made where I trash Gul Dukat:
Bah I say! Bah! Gul Dukat is awesome. No other villain in the Trek verse comes close to the amount of character development he got.
The thing that makes him a great villain is that he wasn't 100% evil. He could be kind, he could be friendly, he desperately wanted validation from Kira and Sisko. He loved his children (ok he was a horrible parent). On some level he had some sort of love for the Bajorans (more than the average Cardassian at least) but that soured when they kept fighting back. The evil he did do was made worse because Dukat had potential for good. He just squandered the chances he got again and again.
To me the thing about Dukat was that he was in denial about being a monster. He wanted to be loved and lionized. He wanted Tora Ziyal to love him as a father. He wanted the Cardassians to love him as a hero or patriot. He wanted the Federation to see how great he was. He wanted the Bajorans to worship him (even before the cult). Most villains are comfortable in their skin and are more than happy to be hated. Gul Dukat wanted adulation.
He was more complex than your average villain (until about season 6). In Dukat's mind he's the hero of his own story and everyone is just standing in his way of doing the right thing. But his complete selfishness and ego always stands in his way. He didn't like the occupation of Bajor but ended up being the face of it because he kept killing Bajorans after they rose up against him. He tried to save Cardassia by joining the Dominion which eventually led to the decimation of the Cardassians empire. He nearly destroyed the universe with his attempt to free the pah wraiths. He's just incredibly short sighted. He's like Doctor Doom if Doctor Doom had gotten good at intergalactic politics.
(Sisko's dig at him in the last episode about always picking the losing side was pretty true)
Dukat's probably the most nuanced character in Star Trek.
I don't deny Dukat got lots of screen time, so naturally the writers did a lot with him. But like I pointed out in the video his characterization is inconsistent. They made him a villain, then an anti-hero, then somehow miraculously he gains control of Bajor so he's a villain again who sells out his people to the Dominion, then he's a crazy person. And yes, he's a loser. He keeps losing. I never, ever take him seriously as a threat because the writers treated him as a joke for the first several seasons and then at the end made him insane which is just a cheap cop out. And then the writers made us like Dukat when he lost everything, then turned around and said we were wrong to like him at all because he's a mass murderer. This isn't character growth, it's inconsistent writing based on the needs of the series at that moment combined with producers backtracking on creative decisions they made.