Monday, 9 February 2009

The Greatest Bad Guys from Star Trek 4: Dukat

I have looked at some fantastic villains over the past three days. From the grandeur of Khan to the frightening Borg Queen and not forgetting the scheming Weyoun. But there is one more villain I want to highlight and again it is from thr Deep Space Nine series. That villain is Dukat.

On the surface Dukat is an unusual choice. Unlike Khan, this character did not have any superior abilities. Unlike the Borg Queen or Weyoun, he does not represent a formidable enemy. So, in effect we have, what is in reality, an ordinary guy. And that is exactly what makes Dukat such a great Sci Fi villain. Dukat was a bad man, no doubt about that, his actions and his motives were that of greed and selfishness, classic 'bad guy' traits that culminated in an overbearing and dangerous ego. However, the fascinating aspect of Dukat was the depth of his humanity. More than any other 'bad guy' on this list, he was the one you could empathise with.

His humanity came in many way. First his care for his own people. Something you could admire, although it was rooted in his own advancement. The fact that he believed he was doing the right thing during the Bajoran occupation (although he was ultimately ruthless). However his greatest moments came with the interaction between him and his daughter.

Unlike many others that would have been in his position, the character of Dukat recognised, cared for and ultimately loved his own daughter. One of the most touching scenes in all of Star Trek is the moment when Dukat is reunited with his illegitimate child and instead of refusing to acknowledge her existence he accepted her even though it meant his own ruin. Later on, while Dukat becomes more venemous and destructive in himself, it is the love of his daughter that prevents him from becoming an entirely wretched person in the eyes of the viewer. And one of the most touching scenes on the whole of Star Trek is that of Dukat cradling his dying daughter in his arms, imploring his love to her. Trust me, it is touching.

The strength of Dukat's character did not come from brute force or alien freakishness. It came from the fact that on many levels he was so similar to Sisko, the hero of the Deep Space Nine. There were traits that the both of them shared and for the grace of a few decisions, Sisko could have been as bad as Dukat. Dukat's appeal did not come from some outlandish concept or look, but from the very fact that he was such a 3-D character. He was complex, capable of great compassion and could even justify his actions in what would seem a rational way. Dukat was not so much an ordinary enemy, but the enemy from within. His very 'human' nature, his complexities, his love and his personal tragedy made sure that the character had far more appeal than any other villain on the Star Trek franchise.

Dukat, a villain of many shades, tragic and fearsome, but ultimately human.

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