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Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 3 Sections 44 45 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 3, Sections 44–45 : The Prophet | Summary



Book 3, Section 44

Paul announces to the assembled Fremen he will not challenge Stilgar's leadership. Instead, he displays the ducal signet ring and declares he is duke of Arrakis. His first act as duke is to make Stilgar a knight. With that problem solved, Paul announces they are going to attack the Harkonnens.

Halleck still thinks Jessica betrayed the duke, and as soon as he is alone with her, he immediately tries to kill her. Paul, finding Halleck with a knife to his mother, convinces him Dr. Yueh was the traitor. Halleck feels terrible when he finally realizes his mistake, but Paul forgives him.

After Paul leaves his mother and Halleck to catch up, he decides to drink the Water of Life and see if he is the Kwisatz Haderach.

Book 3, Section 45

Three weeks later Jessica sends for Chani because Paul has been in a coma-like state because of an unknown poison. Examining Paul, Chani suddenly sends for the Water of Life, and asks Jessica to transform some into the harmless form. But before Jessica can comply, Paul wakes, saying he has already converted the Water of Life. To prove it, he drinks a mouthful. Then he grabs Jessica by the arm and enters her mind, demanding she take him to the dark place women cannot look. She does this, realizing he is indeed the Kwisatz Haderach, "who could be many places at once." Paul reveals the mysteries of the ancient feminine and masculine forces, and says he is at the "fulcrum" of them. He also reveals that the emperor, the Harkonnens, Sardaukar, and raiders from the other houses are in orbit around Arrakis. Paul asks Jessica to change a large amount of the Water of Life. He explains that if the changed water is planted near a pre-spice mass, when they mix, a chain reaction will kill all the worms on Arrakis. He plans to threaten his enemies with the power to destroy all of the spice.


The theme of humanity is developed through Paul's transformation into the Kwisatz Haderach; in Paul, the male and female primeval natures find balance. Gender roles play an important role in the mythology of Dune and are seen as two opposites that balance each other. The female force is the "ancient force that gives," while the male force is "the ancient force that takes." According to Paul's new insight into this opposite yet complementary nature, men find it easy to see into the part of the self where the taking force is found. Women, on the other hand, find it easy to see into the place where the giving force is found. These giving and taking forces correlate in predictable and patriarchal ways to traditional gender roles. The men—soldiers, rulers, merchants—conquer and profit, while the women bear the children and provide support for the men. Paul, as Kwisatz Haderach, can see into both places without losing his sense of self, because he is at the balance point. He gives and takes in equal measure. But in truth this only seems to reflect a spiritual reality. His role in his external life remains firmly in the realm of the masculine.

The kind of power Paul intends to wield against the combined forces of the emperor, Spacing Guild, Harkonnens, and other Great Houses is a "taking" force. He now knows how spice is made and how to change the chemical makeup of the pre-spice mass. He plans to threaten to remove the source of spice by killing off the entire species of worms. By destroying or throttling the production of spice, House Atreides would control space travel: the guild relies on spice to navigate space-time.

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