Colonized and Exploited People of Dune
Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic, Dune, is a stand-alone novel which introduces the world to the desert planet of Dune and the novels which follow, detailing the history of the people of a distant place and time. Dune is the only spot in the universe where the spice, Melange, is found. Dune has been colonized for 80 years by the House of Harkonnen. Dune is inhabited by the native Fremen and the soldiers and underlings of the Baron Harkonnen. The Fremen are lords of the desert and masters of the giant sand worms that live in the deep desert, but servants to the evil overlords.
It is the presence of the worms that makes any travel or movement across those deserts very dangerous. The title of this paper refers to the Fremen and the Harkonnnen soldiers and people whose duty it is to keep Fremen in bondage. It is a paper on the colonized and exploited people of the novel Dune. The ongoing topic theme in the novel is the subjugation of the Fremen and how they are used, as the natives of most colonies are used, by their colonial masters. However, Herbert quickly shows the reader a different side of the Fremen.
There is much more to them than what the Harkonnens or anyone else in the universe thinks. The Fremen are not the docile people it is thought that they are. They have secret stashes of weapons and water hidden in the desert and they are able to ride on the backs of the giant sand worms. It is made clear that they are waiting only for a leader who will organize them and send them against their evil overlords, the Harkonnens. Paul Atreides will be a holy warrior and a god to the native inhabitants.
He will take their army and mold it to his will. This, in turn, will bring the Emperor of the universe and all of the leaders of the great houses to Arrakis, which is the real name of the planet Dune. They will come to protect their interest and the spice. They will underestimate the young Duke Paul Atreides and he will seize the Emperor’s crown for himself. Paul and the once exploited Fremen will rule the universe by overthrowing the House Harkonnen and forcing the abdication of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV.
The Fremen, led by Paul Atredeides, prove that oppressed peoples, in bondage to colonial powers, can hope to overthrow those tyrants and control their own lives if they never accept their slavery. The House Harkonnen, ruled by the evil Baron, pretend to give up their colony on Dune and turn it over to the House Atreides and its benevolent Duke, Leto, though they plan in secret to overthrow the duke and return to retake Dune as soon as House Atreides gets too comfortable in their new role. They are patient and they pretend they have left the planet peacefully and have turned over everything on the planet to House Atreides.
Instead they have left spies and traps everywhere in the palace they have abandoned. Their plan is to return in force, murder the duke, his wife and heir and regain control of the spice. Their plan almost succeeds and they think they have retaken the planet. What they have not taken into consideration is that the Duke’s son and his wife escaped them, fled to the desert and took refuge with the Fremen. So while they managed to kill Duke Leto, his son, who is now Duke Paul, is alive and under the protection of the wild unexploited and dangerous Fremen of the deep desert.
They also have not considered that Duke Paul’s arrival has been predicted by the Fremen holy women for generations and they accept Paul as their leader immediately. It is not long until they come to accept him as their god. The shield walls of the fortress are breached by the use of the Atreides family atomic weapons. With the shield-walls down the Fremen can enter, riding on the backs of giant sand worms and fight the Emperor’s Sardaukar army hand-to-hand in their favorite method of killing enemies.
“Onward toward the Emperor’s hutment they (Fremen) came while the House Sardaukar stood awed for the first time in their history by an onslaught their minds found difficult to accept,” (451). The Emperor retreated for his life as his praetorian guard fought to the death to save him. He and Baron Harkonnen believed they held Alia, the young sister of Paul Atreides, as their hostage, while in reality she was almost as powerful as her older brother and never in any danger from them in any way. It was she who then kills the evil Harkonnen with a poisoned needle that she jabs into his hand.
He dies instantly and House Harkonnen is without a leader. “ (The barron’s) eyes bulged as he stared at a red slash on his left palm. …He rolled sideways in his suspensors, a sagging mass of flesh, supported inches off the floor with head lolling and mouth hanging open,” (450). Paul himself kills the last Harkonnen in a knife duel in front of the Emperor he is about to depose. The Emperor becomes a prisoner of Duke Paul and his Fremen, who were once the exploited indigenous peoples of Dune, enslaved by their Harkonnen colonial overlords.
To make the Emperor’s punishment complete Paul Atreides demands the hand of Shaddam IV’s daughter, and the crown of empire which he wears. “The Emperor turned a stricken look upon his daughter. She touched his arm, spoke soothingly: ‘For this I was trained, Father,’”(473). Paul not only takes the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV’s daughter in marriage, and the crown that he wears, he also exiles the Emperor to a remote planet. “You shall have a throne on Salusa Secundu,” Paul tells him at the meeting immediately after the battle, as Paul was dictating the terms (472).
Paul also takes away the Emperor’s source of wealth and divides it up among his loyal servants. He leaves the former Emperor with little but a palace and a throne chair on which he could sit and think about the past when he ruled the universe. “(Get for me) the Emperor’s entire CHOAM company holdings as dowry, “ Paul tells his mother (473). Paul Atreides, the young son of Duke Leto Atreides, begins his slow path to becoming a god of the Fremen of Dune in an odd way, as if anyone has ever become a god in a routine way.
Along with his mother he is taken prisoner when House Harkonnen betrayed the House Atreides and overthrew their rule of the planet Dune. They are to be killed by being taken deep into the deserts of Dune in a flying ship, and there they are to be abandoned without food, water or shelter. They will either die of the elements, starvation, dehydration or become the prey of marauding giant sand worms which prowl the deep deserts and are attracted to the noise of people walking across the sand. Paul’s mother, the Lady Jessica, concubine to the Duke, is a Bene Gesserit witch with many powers.
She is able to bend the minds of most men to her will by using her hypnotic voice. As she and Paul are bound and gagged and in a flying machine headed into the dessert Paul tries to use his own limited powers on the two Harkonnen men. Jessica understands what he is trying to do and helps him. He is able to get them to ungag his mother and she is able to use her full voice powers to convince them to unbind her son. Paul is able to overpower the two men and bring down the ship in the middle of the desert.
He and his mother seek refuge in a rock outcrop when leads into a cavern. There they find the Fremen of the desert, the natives of Dune, the people they are exploiting. These Freemen are seen as a non-violent group, mostly serving their Harkonnen masters as servants and doing menial tasks for them. But they are cunning and adept at surviving. They spy on the Harkonnens and do all they can to upset the trade and livelihood of their masters. Deep in the remote deserts of Dune there are far more of them then anyone realizes and they are militant.
They plan to change the face of their world because they have no free water. They envision creating rivers and lakes and even rain. They have spent years trapping reservoirs of water which they plan to release when the time is right. They are a very religious people and their holy women, those who can see visions by ingesting the spice, Melange, have prophesied that a man will come to them and lead them in a holy war across the face of the planet and even beyond. He will be what they call the ‘Kwisatz Haderach’ and he will be able to see the future.
Paul and his mother join up with the Fremen and Jessica becomes their Reverend Mother. Paul quickly moves to lead in all areas. He fulfills the prophesies and they begin to recognize his abilities. The Water of Life is a fluid in which a baby sandworm has been soaked and preserved (423). It is deadly poisonous to humans unless they have the training and the power to convert this elixir to a harmless by-product inside their bodies. It is drank by women who wish to become holy and take their place as Reverend Mothers. No man has ever survived drinking it.
Jessica drank of the liquid, and it changed her to a Reverend Mother, but she was pregnant with Paul’s sister, Alia, at the time. It also changed her as well and so she was born premature and a full Reverend Mother, with all the knowledge possessed by all of the Reverend Mothers who had gone before her. Paul then decided that if he was really the chosen one he could survive the drinking of the water. He did survive and he came out of the experiences as the Kwizatz Haderach (424), a much more powerful being than a Reverend Mother, and fulfills all of the prophesies of the Fremen.
They call him Muad Dib and begin a cult that results in his deification (350). As the leader and god figure of the Freman, Paul Atreides begins a holy war across the face of the universe. His Fremen are religious fanatics. Graves wrote that Claudius I said that religious fanaticism is the most dangerous form of insanity. Paul was aware of his godhead and he understood that he lost friends when he became more god-like. As the Freman began to worship him they no longer could love him as a human being. “I’ve seen a friend become a worshipper,” he (Paul Atreides) thought (455).
The truth-sayer and Reverend Mother of the Padishah Emperor understands what happened and she understands Paul’s godhead. She sees what will happen if this group of Fremen warriors were ordered into space to swarm across the universe in a holy war for the sake of spreading the religion of Paul Muad Dib. “She glimpsed the jihad and said: ‘You cannot loose these people upon the universe! ’ (473). The circle becomes complete. In the beginning the Fremen are the exploited natives of a planet that had the potential to rule the universe. All it needs is the right leader, which it finds in Paul Atreides.
It is also equally clear that the leader who is prophesied to arrive is the son of their new overlord, Duke Leto Atreides. It is proven that 15-year-old Paul is the chosen one, the man who will come and lead the Fremen in a jihad against the evil Harkonnens. Although he arrives on Dune as the rich son of the ruling Duke, he quickly moves to identify with the natives and become one of them. Paul overthrows the House Harkonnen and deposes the Emperor. He gains control of all spice production and becomes a god in the eyes of the Freman, who throw off the colonial yoke of servitude.
These warriors spread his religion across the universe and he is worshipped as god and Emperor. Bibliography Graves, R. I, Claudius New York: Vintage Press 1989 Herbert, F. Dune New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons 1999 Answers. com Fremen Retrieved 3-32-07 from: http://www. answers. com/topic/fremen Farsector. com 2003 Desert Power Retrieved 3-30-07 from: http://www. farsector. com/media/4_2003. htm wikipedia. org Paul Atreides Retrieved 3-29-07 from: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Paul_Atreides