Thematic Analysis of Dune

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  • Topic: Dune, Dune universe, Bene Gesserit
  • Pages : 1 (324 words )
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  • Published : November 6, 2010
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Frank Herbert’s science-fiction epic Dune not only offers an unforgettable plot, but also contains a diverse plethora of themes that represent his abstract ideas and views of society. The three main themes that occur throughout his novel are: manipulation by religion, dependence on spice, and human manipulation of nature.

Religion is portrayed throughout Herbert’s work as a powerful tool of manipulation. The sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit use their “Missionaria Protectiva” to manipulate societies by implanting religious legends and philosophies, which they can then exploit, at will, to fulfill their needs. Frank Herbert’s influence for the Bene Gesserit came from his oppressive maternal aunts’ attempts to force their Irish-Catholic religion upon him as a child.

In the universe of Dune, the super-addictive drug-spice “Melange” is the single most important commodity – to economy as well as space travel. From the individuals in the novel – Reverend Mother, Paul – to the various corporate entities – the Guild transporters – and even up to the most powerful houses of the empire – Atriedes, Harkonnen – everyone depends on the spice. This situation holds a metaphor to our modern-world dependence on oil, and Herbert demonstrates his negative opinion on this dependence through the recurring theme of spice addiction, and the negative ramifications that this addiction creates for the characters of the book.

Finally, the question of how much mankind should intervene and manipulate nature is presented throughout the novel in two forms. The first of these forms encountered is the manipulation of the genetic code by the Bene Gesserit, and the second is Liet Kynes’ proposals to alter the ecosystem of Dune. Herbert includes arguments both for and against human intervention in nature, sometimes saying that it is infringing on God’s power, while other times saying that God gave us the power, so we should use it. Herbert never gives a definitive opinion on this...
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