by: Frank Herbert

Book I (continued)

Summary Book I (continued)

Paul, on the other hand, must learn to handle his new superpowers so that he does not abuse them. After the death of Paul’s father, Paul’s character transforms physically, mentally, and emotionally. He kills his first man: the guard on the ornithopter. As he hides in the tent, he also becomes aware of the “terrible purpose” in life that will haunt him for the rest of the novel. Paul must remember his training as a Mentat but also as a Bene Gesserit. Mentats are trained to think only in logical, rational terms; their primary skill is calculating any and every bit of information. Their minds record and analyze everything they see. However, Paul’s mother has also trained him in the more intuitive, spiritual, and mystical powers of the Bene Gesserit. Paul’s success lies in balancing his powers of logic and intuition.

Paul’s ability to handle his new powers is made even more difficult by his use of the magical melange, the spice drug. Melange heightens the user’s awareness of the senses, both rational and spiritual. Paul’s human brain uses only a portion of its potential until he eats the melange spice. He becomes hyperaware of everything around him, and his two schools of training combine to allow him to notice every detail around him, and then plug into a vast mental calculator that computes all the possible outcomes of the future. Some of this computation is mystical as well; there is no logical way that Paul could know his sister would be known as St. Alia of the Knife or that he would meet a girl who would call him Usul. Paul has become a kind of superhuman, capable of combining the skills of a Mentat and a Bene Gesserit. The Fremen will respect Paul’s ability to balance his powers, suggesting that unlike the baron, Paul will rise to become the leader of the universe and will become the Mahdi.