William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act II, Scene xiii

Paul’s Bedroom. Night.

Enter the BARON HARKONNEN with GUARDS and LADY JESSICA, bound

HAR: You are awake, do not pretend that sleep
Still rules the chambers of your shuttered eyes.
The drug was timed, and doth this minute cease.
Would that your mouth could ope’ as well, and yet
To loose it were t’invite a danger more
Than all Atreides’ armies now can boast.
Good Piter, enter. Do I speak aright?

Enter PITER

PIT: Can the Baron e’er in caution err?

HAR: My Piter thinks he’s come to claim his prize:
You, Lady Jessica, on whom he dotes.
But I know him more closely than he knows
His own desires, and with that knowledge armed
I’ll gift him a surprise: he wants you not.

PIT: You play with me, my lord? What is the game?

HAR: Piter cannot bring himself to see
How deadly Lady Jessica could be:
Naive for all his cunning, and I’d show
Him plainly, but ‘twould be a foolish risk
To loose your power into action here.
What Piter wants is power, nothing more

PIT: You promised her to me, as loot of war.

HAR: And I shall keep that promise, at your choice.

PIT: What choice do you, O Baron, deign to give?

HAR: This woman, paired with exile from those worlds
Which all men know: this realm Imperial.
Or Duke Atreides fief to rule in name
Of mine: Harkonnen, as it pleases thee.
Thou shalt be Duke in everything but name.
You want this woman, that she was a Duke’s:
A symbol of his pow’r and majesty.
But I do offer thee reality
In place of symbol: substance over form.

PIT: You do not joke with Piter, Baron?

HAR: Joke?
Do I not lose the boy as thou this wench?
He’s had her training, deadly as his dam.
I bid farewell. I send my chosen guard
As deaf as stone, and he shall you convey
On your sojourn to exile, if you wish.
If she should cozen you, he’ll vanquish her.
And not permit you to remove her gag
Until you leave Arrakis with your prize.
If you choose to remain, he’s more to do.

PIT: Leave not, I have determined what to do.

HAR: ‘Tis as I thought: and means but one result.

PIT: The Duchy of Arrakis I shall have.

HAR: ‘Tis wonderful to know the men who serve
Me so exactly. And I take my leave.
Dear Lady Jessica, I hate thee not.
But cold necessity, doth force my hand.
I have as well not ordered thee destroyed,
And when they ask what hath befallen thee
I can in truth protest my ignorance.
The guard I send to you will do thy will
Good Piter. And no blood shall stain my hands.
‘Tis better far the thing I do today,
And better rest for you than he had planned.

Enter KINET and CZIGO and two GUARDS

KINET: What are your orders, Mentat of my lord?
The boy is on a cot without made fast.

PIT: Dispatch them to the desert, and the worms
Shall soon dispatch with them, and there’s an end.
The traitor’s plan is good: we must not have
Their bodies, more impolitic than ghosts
To haunt us, rather let them fade to dust.

KINET: You wish not to make double-certain sure
Dread Mentat, and dispatch them with your blade?

PIT: My lord is wise, and I do learn from him.
You have the traitor’s words, I’ll say no more.

Exit PITER

KINET: He fears the Truthsayer who sees for him
Who sits upon the throne Imperial
And I’d not like to face that witch myself.

CZIGO: A Truthsayer? What think ye that we are?
A lady questions lords, not such as us
Who do their work that bears no scrutiny.
We like the unregarded sand do all
Of aye importance on this globe of dust
And stay unseen by those who spurn our work.
And work we have, this chatter but doth keep
Us from our beds. Now take her by the feet.

KINET: Why slay we not them here and corpses move?

CZIGO: To slay them here? And add to all our toil
The chore of cleaning carpets soaked with blood?
We’ll cut them in the desert where the sand
Will clean itself, and leave them for the worms.

KINET: Thou speakest truth, we’ll do the traitor’s plan.

They take PAUL and JESSICA to the waiting ornithopter

KINET: This thopter will not bear us all i’th’air!

CZIGO: What worries thee? We’ll do the job ourselves.

KINET: My lord the Baron charged me to be sure
That they were dead: the woman is a witch
Of Bene Gesserit, and they have powers.

CZIGO: Then come and do thy duty, we’ll away.

They board, and CZIGO lifts the ornithopter. Exit GUARDS.

KINET: Dost know the way to go?

CZIGO: The way to go?
I listened to the traitor, same as you,
Though I need no false leech to guide my stick
And rudder. I know more of ways to go
On any planet than thou’st ever thought.

KINET: With women, aye. A shame, this one to waste.
Know’st thou the way to go with highborn maids.

CZIGO: The Bene Gesserit are neither maids nor high
Of birth by virtue of their cloistering
Within robes black as sin, hast thou not seen
The proof of this one’s mainhead’s demise
As it doth glare at thee upon its cot?

KINET: They look as high as any mountaintop
Which be brought low if any man do mount
Them in the night, and why not do as much?
No man should know what heights we dared and then
The graven sand hides our impertinence.

PAUL: Touch thou my mother, slave; thy blood is mine.

CZIGO: The muzzled pup doth howl, but biteth not.
So far is good enough for graves, I trow.

CZIGO grounds the thopter.

CZIGO: Now I shall show thee how to go.

KINET: Czigo…

CZIGO: Such skin I’ve never seen!

PAUL (using Voice): Remove her gag!

CZIGO removes the gag.

KINET: Loose not her tongue!

CZIGO: Go to! Her hands be bound.

JESS (using Voice): Gentlemen, no need to fight o’er me.
Is any woman worth the blood of men?

KINET: She speaketh right. What need is there to fight?

KINET attacks CZIGO and is slain.

CZIGO: Thou stone, as if I knew not thou wert such!
Now for the cub.

JESS: No need for that, good sir.
Wouldst thou not have my will as well as flesh?
Then give the boy a chance upon the dunes
‘Tis little chance enough, but give it him
And I can pay in coin you’ve never felt
Nor dreamed of feeling in a hundred lives.

CZIGO: The knife could be a kinder death than thirst.

JESS: Is it so much I ask?

CZIGO: Nay, trick me not.

JESS: A trick is it to see my son unslain?

CZIGO: If I do cut thy bonds, my pup, what doest thou?

JESS: He’ll hide himself within the rocks posthaste.

CZIGO: And wilt thou?

PAUL: I do all my dam commands.

CZIGO cuts PAUL’s bonds and shoves him out the door. PAUL kills him with a backwards kick.

CZIGO: O, I am slain!

JESS: I could have handled him.
When he did cut my bindings: take no risks!

PAUL: I saw the chance that heaven sent and moved.

JESS: Upon this cabin’s ceiling is engraved
The crest of Yueh’s house. This calls for thought
And search of this whole craft. A thing lies there
Beneath the pilot’s seat: it caught my foot.

PAUL: A bomb, to make our deaths a certain thing?

JESS: That I misdoubt: there’s something rotten here
In proud Harkonnen’s state he prides him on.

PAUL: What is that sound without? What beats of wings?

JESS: Harkonnens! For our lives now flee we must!