Dune

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A great attribute to Maradona
A great attribute to Maradona

Dune is a science fiction novel written in the 60’s until the middle of the 80’s. There are 6 volumes in total : Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert. After his death, his son continued his father’s chronicles of Dune with different prequels and sequels. Dune had a first cinematic adaptation in 1984 directed by David Lynch and later a second one by Denis Villeneuve. Dune Saga who explores opression, repression and colonialism.

Exploring the Hero Myth

Dune explores the Hero myth with Paul. Paul is a young and simple man designated as a Saviour in a prophecy on Arrakis. Paul was the heir of the House Atreid and he lost everything when his family got betrayed. He planned revenge on those who betrayed him and his family. 

The figure of the Hero is present in this saga. Paul is the perfect exemple. He is the typical character who got himself into a cause which became more important than himself. And like all heroes, he starts his life by having everything in the palm of his hands. Then by being violently deprived of his rights and the influence of his name. He grew up with the security of his father’s name but had to make his own by himself. 

In the beginning of his life, Paul, like many heroes, becomes associated to a prophecy. A prophecy that said he is the chosen one for the Fremen, the local population of Arrakis. A planet where his father rose to the position of Duke. And like many heroes, he is betrayed and has a new feeling of revenge. Except, instead of finishing his quest when he obtained revenge, he doesn’t stay there. He continues his violent quest of power. Even during his revenge, his character already started to distant from the typical Hero characteristics. He used his mother prophecy’s for his own benefits. He used the hero he represented for the Fremen to use them as an army.

Religious themes in Dune

The religion aspect is also present in the Movie. The Bene Reccedict controls, more or less, religious beliefs. They are a group of women who have visions of the future. The Reverend Mother is the leader of the Sisterhood. Dune is directly a critique of this group, who choose their ability to manipulate and control the populations. Frank Herbert, in his novels, shows how much dangerous they are. Their abilities to remove free will of people with their organisation is a powerfull but dangerous tool.

Like them, Paul uses the same tactics as the Bene Reccedict. Being a Bene Reccedict himself like his mother, he has some of their powers.Such as the Voice and the Visions. With them, he can command anyone with just the powers of his mind. He can see the future and act in consequences to make it real or not. And just like his mother or the Reverend Mother, he uses it to manipulate the Fremen. Use it as a tool for his quest of vengeance. 

And Paul isn’t the only one who does the same. Every person in power uses the manipulation of the Bene Reccedict. The emperor is also using it, as his daughter is also part of the Sisterhood. From Arrakis to the capital, the dominant uses religion as a tool to control people. To keep them locked and unable to think by themselves. So instead of fighting for themselves and their own freedom, they fight for someone else for this person’s best interest. 

Colinsation and Apartheid

And, unfortunately, this case happened before in Human History. Many men, in the past, started Holy Wars just for their own interest. Making believe those who had to fight that it was also in their interest. 

Frank Herbert doesn’t only criticise religion. Colonisation and apartheid is also one of the main points of the Dune Saga. Knowing also that the Fremen Culture is heavily inspired by Islam culture. The colonisation and Spice Harvest take reference of the colonisation of north Africa by the British and the French.

In the books and the movies, the Arkonens are a powerful family in the political landscape of the Empire. The Emperor gave them the control of Arrakis’s planet. They collect the spice specific to the planet. The spice serves many purposes and one of them is the fuel of all the spaceships. The planet and its ressources is a major political asset. It’s the reason why they plotted against the Atreids to get the control of the planet back. 

It’s a perfect parallel of the history of colonisation. A small group of people who took a place ressources for themselves and oppressed the local. The right owners of the ressources. The Arkonnens are these kinds of people.

Themes of Cultural Appropriation and Political Manipulation in Dune

Cultural appropriation is also criticised in the movie. Lady Jessica starts to dress exactly like a Fremen priestess. She wants to make them believe that her and Paul are on their side of the war. Her purpose to make them believe Paul is the actual Messiah. She’s not embracing their traditions and their lifestyle because she likes it or respects it. But with a will to manipulate and to have something in exchange for the future. Like an army who will fight not only against the Arkonens but also all the noble families of the empire. But to win against the empire like Lady Jessica and Paul wants, the use of Fremen is not enough. They need the total control of Arrakis to control the Spice commerce. The Spice with it’s characteristics is a political, power, and luxury symbol.

Like everything in Dune, all the political aspects take inspiration from our history. Europe with colonisation did the same thing with Africa and South America. It’s still relevant today. Seeing that many African countries are full of important resources and they all are taken by the richest European countries. Leaving the locals with nothing of their own possessions. 

The Dune saga illustrates how those in power manipulate the masses using religion, while also portraying themes of repression and opression. It also shows a small group of people, can shape an entire nation for their personal benefit. How, just by power and influence, the will of one person can change a millions of others. It’s a story about a young boy with good intentions and good ambition and willing to do good. But who was corrupted by the power that was placed in his hands.

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