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Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 2, Sections 25–26 : Muad'Dib | Summary

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Summary

Book 2, Section 25

The aircraft that appear above Paul and Jessica turn out to be led by Duncan Idaho, who is accompanied by Kynes and several other Fremen. They guide Paul and Jessica to a cave chamber that once served as an imperial base. Kynes, whom the Fremen call Liet, speaks to Paul and Jessica privately, and Paul asserts his authority as duke.

Paul reveals a plan to regain power from the Harkonnens. He will cause tension between the Imperium and the Great Houses, then offer a solution to the emperor for avoiding war. This solution would involve Paul marrying one of the emperor's daughters and becoming emperor. He tells Liet-Kynes he will use this power to make sure Arrakis becomes a paradise. A Harkonnen attack interrupts the meeting, and Idaho is killed. Paul, Liet-Kynes, and Jessica escape through a secret exit. They separate, but Liet-Kynes says he will send Fremen back to guide Paul and Jessica. Paul and his mother find an aircraft and use it to fly directly into a sandstorm, avoiding pursuit.

Book 2, Section 26

Iakin Nefud, the baron's captain of the guard, reports Paul and Jessica must be dead because they flew into a sandstorm. The baron is skeptical and displeased further when he finds out Liet-Kynes has been helping House Atreides. He decides Liet-Kynes will need to be killed. Nefud also reports Thufir Hawat is captured, believing Jessica to be the traitor. Because Hawat is a valuable Mentat, the baron decides to use Hawat's anger at Jessica to recruit him. Hawat will be brought to him and will be administered a poison, along with its antidote. The antidote can be withheld at any time, if the baron deems it necessary.

The baron summons Rabban, his nephew, and gives him control of Arrakis once again. Secretly the baron intends to replace Rabban with his brother Feyd-Rautha. The baron gives Rabban a free hand with the planet as long as he makes a profit. Rabban worries they might have underestimated the Fremen, but the baron dismisses these concerns.

Analysis

Section 25 shows Paul trying out his newly gained authority, revealing he is both confident and ambitious. Liet-Kynes is now revealed as the Fremen leader they speak about with religious reverence and fear. Yet Paul does not hesitate to assert himself as duke. After all, Liet-Kynes was sent to Arrakis as an imperial employee and technically owes allegiance to Paul as duke. As if that isn't enough, Paul plans to use blackmail to push the empire into crisis mode then use the crisis to ascend to the emperor's throne. To get what he wants, he's also ready to use fear: the emperor's fear of disorder and the fear among the Great Houses of the Landsraad that the emperor will gain so much power their autonomy would be threatened. The political situation is a delicate balance between the emperor's power and the power of the combined houses—much like the power of the federal and state governments in the United States. Paul proposes to threaten this balance with destruction and chaos. This willingness to destroy something in order to gain power and control is a trait Paul will show again and again.

Paul's plan demonstrates a ruthlessness more like Baron Harkonnen's rule than Duke Leto's. So perhaps it is not surprising that Jessica and Liet-Kynes are skeptical. "I'm not sure I could trust the person who conceived this plan," remarks Liet-Kynes. However, in the next moment Paul shows a side of himself more like his father than like the baron: "I would give my life for you," he tells Liet-Kynes.

Baron Harkonnen, of course, has his own "plans within plans within plans." He is going to exploit Hawat's anger at the believed betrayal by Jessica in order to replace his dead Mentat, Piter. At the same time he will use Rabban to squeeze as much profit out of Arrakis as possible. When the people of Arrakis begin to resist the harsh treatment from Rabban, Feyd-Rautha will swoop in to relieve their suffering.

All these manipulations develop the theme of power and control and ask readers to consider the ways leaders use the levers available to them to get what they want. The baron's techniques are vulgar and violent; Paul's are less so, but they still place lives and the stability of the galaxy at risk. Facile distinctions such as "Evil rulers use fear while good ones use love" do not apply in Dune.

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