Frank Herbert’s Dune Novel Analysis: Frank Herbert’s Dune Arrakis, Dune, the desert planet which nourishes and eradicates life. A harsh, dry place where moisture is so precious that a single tear is valued beyond the weight of gold; home to the spice. It is here that one follows the rivalry between the Great Houses, and where one can see the bitter hate inherent in the Bene Gesserit class, the Mentats, the Spacing Guild, and the CHOAM company. Frank Herbert has invented not only an entire world, but a new language, religion, and ideology with his ground breaking novel. Herbert builds an entire legacy based upon one family, the Atreides, and their feud with the lecherous Harkonnen house.
We will begin the analysis with a brief description of the main characters, beginning with house Atreides and ending with the Imperial household. Duke Leto Atreides, the noble patriarch of house Atreides. A man in his forties, strong in build, with blackened hair and fierce green eyes. Most often, Duke Leto is seen attired in his sable military uniform bearing the red Atreides hawk on his breast pocket. He has a hard, protective manner, showing care for only his son and his concubine.
Leto is highly respected by his peers for his justice and ability. However, it is never wise to become more popular than the man in charge. The Lady Jessica is the cold, reserved concubine of Duke Leto Atreides. Her Bene Gesserit training gives her a certain power, especially her telepathic abilites. She has bronzed hair, and piercing eyes.
Her commands are given curtly, and without flowery details. She is a marvelous diplomat as well as a teacher of the Bene Gesserit ways. She is distrustful and sometimes, rather paranoid. She seems to only conditionally love her son or her Duke, and rarely shows either warmth or affection. Young Paul Atreides has the same physical apperance as his father.
And, at only fifteen years, shows a lurking intelligence far beyond what is normal. It is this preturnatural aura and his mother’s assistance in developing his ablities by use of the Bene Gesserit way that make him seem formidable. Paul is the result of a Bene Gesserit breeding pattern which sought to bring about the Kwisatz Haderach, The Shortening of the Way. The Baron Harkonnen is an overweight, hideous monstrosity who requires the use of suspensors ( portable levitation devices ) to keep his grotesque weight from crushing his legs. He is a flagrant homosexual who adores young flesh.
The Baron is greedy, slothful, devious and bitter. He has become addicted o the Arrakan spice and must import his own special supply. He seeks to undermine the house Atreides and destroy them. His one concern is grooming his heir, Feyd-Rautha to be as devious and harsh as he himself is. Feyd-Rautha is the beautiful boy nephew of the Baron. He is just as despicable as his uncle.
He enjoys war games, often slaughtering slaves for sport. The one great motivation of Feyd is the conquest of the Imperial throne, and leadership of Arrakis. Raban Harkonnen is the slavemaster of Salusa Secondus, the Emperor’s prison planet. He is slow in all senses of the word, being needlessly cruel and stupid. He is Feyd’s older brother, and therefore, the Baron’s nephew.
He was once overlord of Arrakis and sought to kill the Fremen peoples. Thufir Hawat is the Mentat advisor to the Duke Leto Atreides. He is wise as well as sneaky. His chief concern is that of guarding the house Atreides. He is a gaunt man, with long black hair bound in the Mentat silver ring.
His lips are stained red from the juices of a certain fruit, believed to imbue a Mentat with superior mental control. Gurney Halleck was rescued from the slave pits of the Beast Rabban by Duke Leto, and considers this a debt beyond payment. He is a stringy, scarred old man who is weaponmaster, bodyguard, and accomplished baliset player. The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam is a withered Bene Gesserit witch and the Emperor’s right hand. She places all of her faith in the Bene Gesserit breeding program and condemns the Lady Jessica for bearing a son instead of the daughter she was comanded to deliver. Chani is the lover of Paul- Muad’Dib and a Fremen priestess.
She helps young Atreides become the leader of Arrakis and to control the spice. She is a thin, sinewy girl, with the characteristic all blue eyes, a symptom of frequent spice exposure. The Fremen are a race of desert peoples living on the surface of Arrakis. They have a seperate language, culture, and religion. They wait for the day Arrakis will be an oasis and for the coming of Mahdi, the Messiah.
All Fremen have the Eyes of Ibad, the deep blue eyes denoting high spice exposure. The Sardukar are the fanatical troops of the Emperor. They are efficent and merciless. The Bene Gesserits are a convent of skilled Human Computers who seek to bring about the Kwisatz Haderach through a rigorous breeding fromat. The Mentats are a clan of male telepaths. The Spacing Guild controls all Intergalactic travel by use of it’s Navigators.
Without the great Arrakis spice, the navigators will be blinded and all travel will cease to be. Princess Irulan, chronicler of the life of Paul-Muad’Dib, is the daughter of Emperor Shaddam and token bride of Paul-Muad’Dib. She is a pretty young thing who is bookwormish and highly intelligent. And finally, the Emperor Shaddam, cousin to the house Atreides and ruler of the known universe. A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.
This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad’Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Muad’Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.
-from Manual of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan English Essays.