Analysis of the Power of Religion in Frank Herbert's Dune Essays

Analysis of the Power of Religion in Frank Herbert's Dune Essays

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Throughout Dune there is a clear emphasis on the power of religion in society. Frank Herbert explores just how prominent religion is when it comes to control again and again in this book with the idea of prophecy and messianic suggestion. The main character, Paul, is often looked upon as some sort of supernatural human being and is in turn glorified and protected. After having been crowned the messiah of multiple prophecies Paul becomes referred to as Muad’Dib, which means “mouse”. Herbert uses this name to exemplify Paul as resilient and admirable; however, the more he is picked apart, the more deceit and trickery is revealed. Paul is no more a messiah than he is an honest man.
Herbert’s “true” definition of Muad’Dib is that of an adapted kangaroo mouse; nevertheless, he slowly builds the name up into becoming exactly what Paul had referred to it as. Throughout the novel, Muad’Dib takes on the shape of power and control. Still it would be erroneous to fall into such a trap as to agree with that. Muad’Dib remains a mouse in the entirety of this story- a mouse that adapted to the ways of the desert, as Paul did. Not once is it mentioned that this mouse had any supernatural powers only that it adapted. Paul is not the product of some god given gift nor is he a prophesized messiah; he is Muad’Dib. Paul is simply a mouse that was tossed into the desert and forced to adjust in order to survive. The Fremen see him as “Lisan al-Gaib” and the Bene Gesserit look to him as their “Kwisatz Haderach” but he is neither of this. Paul is Muad’Dib. Paul is the mouse of the desert that used religion and perception to deceive people into calling him other such names. He used their hope and naivety to his advantage. His godly appeal was not just tha...


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... Muad’Dib is the prophet or messiah that everyone is searching for. What isn’t realized is that true prophecies are that of the “Lisan al-Gaib” and the “Kwisatz Haderach”. Not once is it mentioned that there was once a mouse prophesized as the next messiah. It simply cannot be, Muad’Dib is not the name of any prophet. Muad’Dib is the name of a leader. Muad’Dib is survival of the fittest.



Works Cited

Devlin, William J., and Shai Biderman. The Philosophy of David Lynch. Lexington, KY: U of Kentucky P, 2011. Print.
Herbert, Frank. Dune. New York: Ace, 1990. Print.
List, Julia. "Call Me A Protestant": Liberal Christianity, Individualism, And The Messiah in "Stranger In A Strange Land," "Dune," And "Lord Of Light." Science Fiction Studies 36.1 (2009): 21-47. Literary Reference Center. Web. 25 Oct. 2013.
O'Reilly, Tim. Frank Herbert. New York: Ungar, 1981. Print.

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