In Star Trek: The Next Generation, while he was sedated, Jean-Luc told the truth - that he did not know the Federation's defense plans.

So why did Gul Madred decide to torture him anyway? Was it to prove he could break his will? Was it an ego thing?

  • 4
    A sadist does sadistic things.
    – BCdotWEB
    Oct 25, 2019 at 23:33
  • Torture is notoriously a terrible way to get information out of someone. Eventually they'll tell you what you want to hear, even if it's a lie, just to make it stop. However, breaking someone's will like that has its own advantages - namely that it's the first step towards turning them into an asset you can manipulate in the future. Having a Federation starship captain in his back pocket would probably be a big deal for any larger intelligence operations that Madred or the Empire might have planned for the future. (This is all speculation though, hence comment rather than answer.)
    – Steve-O
    Oct 28, 2019 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


It is entirely about power.

Gul Madred isn't really interested in truth - he simply wants to be able to control Picard. This is the whole point of the four/five lights - once Picard reacts with the answer Madred insists on, Madred will know he has broken his prisoner's will. As a torturer, that is all he really cares about.

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