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Dune

Frank Herbert

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Paul Atreides -  The protagonist of Dune. Paul is the son of Duke Leto Atreides and is the heir to the House of the Atreides. At the beginning of the novel, Paul is fifteen years old. He has been trained from birth to fulfill the role of duke, and he is adept at combat and strategic thinking. Paul is also a quiet, thoughtful, and observant young man. Paul is not overly tall or muscular, but he is strong and quick. Among the Fremen, Paul has two names: Usul, which signifies strength, and Muad’Dib, the name of the desert mouse on Arrakis.

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Jessica -  Paul’s mother. Jessica is the concubine of Duke Leto Atreides. Though she acts like a wife to Leto and he has no other concubines, she is not married to Leto. Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a school that teaches and practices what many others think of as witchcraft. An orphan who never knew her parents, Jessica is tall and slender, with bronze-colored hair and green eyes.

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Duke Leto Atreides -  Paul’s father. Duke Leto Atreides is the head of the House of Atreides and the rightful ruler of Arrakis. The duke received Arrakis from the emperor in exchange for Leto’s own planet of Caladan, which was given to the duke’s mortal enemy, Baron Harkonnen. The duke is a wise, intelligent, and compassionate man, but he is ruthless when it comes to dealing with his enemies. He cares very much for his concubine, Jessica, and their son, Paul.
Baron Vladimir Harkonnen -  Leader of the House of Harkonnen. The baron is the mortal enemy of the House of Atreides. The baron is very fat, and his bulk is supported by electronic suspenders.
Thufir Hawat -  Duke Leto’s master of assassins. Hawat is a well-known Mentat, or a person trained to act completely logically. He serves as Leto’s main strategist and confidant. Hawat is old, having served three generations of Atreides. He has also trained Paul in combat and tactics.
Gurney Halleck -  Duke Leto’s master of arms, or war master. Halleck is well trained in the use of numerous weapons, and he is particularly good at swordplay with the use of personal electronic body shields. He is fond of music and plays the baliset, a guitarlike instrument. He has trained Paul in the art of personal combat and is an old friend of the Atreides’s.
Duncan Idaho -  Duke Leto’s swordmaster. Duncan is a skilled warrior and a faithful servant of the duke and his family.
Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam  -  Spiritual leader of the Bene Gesserit. Mohiam is old and serves as the emperor’s truthsayer, a person who can tell the emperor whether someone is lying. Before he leaves for Arrakis, Mohiam puts Paul through a severe test of endurance.
Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen -  Nephew of Baron Harkonnen. Feyd-Rautha is the baron’s first choice for an heir. The baron hopes to secure a vast amount of power for the Harkonnen family before Feyd-Rautha comes into his inheritance. Feyd-Rautha is nearly the same age as Paul.
Piter -  Baron Harkonnen’s Mentat, a human trained to think logically, rationally, and mathematically to be the perfect adviser. Piter is ambitious and scheming, two emotional traits that are unusual and not desired in a Mentat.
Yueh -  The Atreides’s doctor. Yueh betrays the Atreides to the Harkonnens. His betrayal is particularly shocking because at this time, doctors of the Suk School are supposed to be heavily psychologically conditioned to never cause harm.
Stilgar  -  A leader of the Fremen, the native people of Arrakis who live in the desert. Stilgar is wise, experienced, and familiar with the legends and folklore of the Fremen.
Chani -  Daughter of Liet-Kynes. Chani is one of the Fremen and has some of the skills of the Bene Gesserit. She is Paul’s age and gives birth to his first child.
Emperor Shaddam IV -  The ruler of the Imperium. The emperor is arguably the most powerful man in the known universe, although he is often at the mercy of the Spacing Guild, which has a monopoly on space travel.
Liet-Kynes  -  Planetologist for Arrakis, or an ecologist for planets. Unknown to the Harkonnens, Liet is also a member of the Fremen. He works with the Fremen to change Arrakis from a desert planet into a lush, green paradise.
Alia -  Duke Leto and Jessica’s daughter, and Paul’s sister. Alia’s mother took the “Water of Life” before she was born. Alia had a conscious awakening while in the womb and even at her birth was much more intelligent than most adults.
Shadout Mapes -  A Fremen and servant of the Atreides. Mapes is the first among the Fremen to test Jessica and discover that she is a Bene Gesserit. Mapes is later killed when Dr. Yueh betrays the Atreides to the Harkonnens.
Princess Irulan -  The emperor’s eldest daughter. In the future, the princess writes several books about the Muad’Dib, who is a vastly important figure in the universe’s history.
Esmar Tuek  -  One of the head smugglers on Arrakis.
Staban Tuek -  The son of Esmar Tuek. Staban takes over for his father after his father’s death.
Jamis -  One of the Fremen. Paul is forced to kill Jamis when the man challenges him to a duel to the death.
Harah -  Jamis’s wife. Harah becomes Paul’s servant after Paul kills her husband.
Count Fenring -  A servant and friend of the emperor’s. The count is married to Lady Fenring. He is a very skilled man, particularly at killing others, and he was almost the Kwisatz Haderach.
Lady Fenring  -  Married to Count Fenring. Lady Fenring is a member of the Bene Gesserit.
Rabban Harkonnen -  A nephew of Baron Harkonnen’s. Before the novel begins, Rabban is the ruler of Arrakis. When the Atreides take over Arrakis, he must step down. However, Rabban rules Arrakis again after the Harkonnens seize back Arrakis.

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