The Messiah as Corruptor in Frank Herbert’s Dune Essay

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The Messiah as Corruptor in Frank Herbert’s Dune Frank Herbert’s Dune is arguably one of the best science fiction novels ever written. A milestone of the genre, the work incorporates an intricate plot with a unique setting and memorable characters. Dune is rich with thematic material, touching on such varied issues as ecology, economics, religion, and politics; ultimately, it is a novel about control, the consequences of power, and human nature. Any reading of Dune and its sequels inevitably arrives at an analysis of Paul, who begins the novel as the youthful ducal heir to House Atreides. Trained both by his mother, a sister of the enigmatic Bene Gesserit School, and by the mentat Thufir Hawat, the human equivalent of a…show more content…
Paul’s character is the subject of continued debate among scholars of science fiction. In “The Prince on Arrakis,” Kevin Mulachy argues that Herbert’s contrast of Paul and his adversaries is meant to provide an examination and refutation of Machiavellian political strategies. “The Messiah and the Greens,” by Susan Stratton, concludes that Dune is a novel expressing ecological concerns surfacing during the time of its inception; Paul is meant to offer a solution to the environmental problems of Arrakis. Paul Kucera’s Jungian reading of Dune, presented in “Listening to Ourselves” suggests that the novel is an analysis of absolute symbolism, in which Paul is a representation of culturally unifying power. Comparisons can be drawn between Paul and ideas presented by Plato in The Republic; his character resonates strongly with both the philosopher-king ideal and the puppetmasters of the “Allegory of the Cave.” The discussion between these different perspectives arises in several areas: Mulachy and Stratton present their opinions on how the setting of Dune affects Paul’s actions. As both argue that the setting is important to Paul’s rise to power, the discussion then turns to a debate on the protagonist’s sources of power and how his role as

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