William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act II, Scene xiv

A cabin of a Harkonnen lighter

YUEH and the Duke LETO tied to a litter.
Enter a BASHAR of the Corps of Sardaukar

BASHAR: You’re Yueh, and that means that you shall live.
We seized this ground when you brought down its shields.
All is in order. This is, then, the Duke.

YUEH: Aye. I am Yueh, and this is my Duke.

BASHAR cuts insignia from LETO’s uniform.

BASHAR: The Great Red Duke. I’ll have a souvenir
To mark this triumph. Where’s his ducal ring?

YUEH: He hath it not upon his finger, sir.

BASHAR: So much mine eyes do tell me, traitorous slave!

YUEH: The Duke betimes hath sent his ring abroad
With servants as a token that commands
Did come from him, and not the man who bore’t.

BASHAR: Then hath Atreides messengers he trusts
Unto the mouth of Hell, where he doth rule.
How long shall gentle sleep the Red Duke save
From the ungentle Baron, whom I hear
Approach? Say, doctor, when doth he awake?

YUEH: But presently, he’ll know himself again.

BASHAR: So good, though this was not a thing to fear
E’en when he woke. Stay, traitor and await
The Baron’s pleasure. He’ll reward thy sin.


YUEH: How they despise me who hath given all
The victory they presently enjoy.
How confident they boast, beyond revenge
And with impunity they do conceive
Themselves to be. My life hath run its course
And giveth me a freedom in this last
Captivity that they imagine not.
The ring the bashar seeks is gone with Paul
And with it what poor words I have to give.
But now I’ll have my moment of revenge
When I do see his gibbous face, the beast
Who sowed this monstrousness within the flesh
Of mine own flesh, and so corrupted me
And I will know the truth behind his words,
An’ please they not my soul, which I have sold
The viper Baron shall himself yet feel
A tooth as sharp as any in his mouth.


HAR: The sound of victory is as the tread
Of doom wherein I walk upon this orb

YUEH (aside): The fat wherewith you walk explains the sound
That would resound about you, doom or no.

HAR: Artillery that traps Atreides’ men
In caves within the Shield Wall, where they
Bereft of shields, and soon of life do hide
In shelters that are now become their tombs.
What man without mine own prodigious mind
Such ancient weaponry would think to raise
Upon these sands and raze his enemies
To dust. His Majesty shall send me thanks
That I so prudently our men preserved.

PITER: The Duke, my Lord, thy pleasure doth await.

HAR: But I must see the traitor who hath giv’n
Me such a prize, and give him his reward.

PITER: The Doctor, Yueh, Baron, I present.

HAR: So thou hast given us the Duke, I hear

YUEH: My half, my lord, that we contracted for
I have performed, and do present to you.

HAR: The letter of the bargain, eh? And I
What was I in return to do for thee?

YUEH: My lord remembers well his promises.

HAR: Do I indeed?

YUEH: You promised to release
My Wanna from your agonizing cells.

HAR: That was the bargain, now I do recall.
Because you could not bear to see your witch
The Bene Gesserit grovel in the probes
Of Piter’s pain augmentors. So we bent
Imperial Conditioning to our
Most puissant will and machinations.
Harkonnen keeps his promises. I said
I’d free her from her agony and let
You in her freedom join.
So be it. Join her in her requiem.


YUEH: You. Think. You. Have. Defeated. Me. You. Think.
I. Knew. Not. What. I. For. My. Wanna. Bought.

HAR: A traitor I could never bring myself
To trust, though I created him myself.
(to PITER) Why hath the Duke’s eye such a glaze as this
That looks as though he in a fever lay.

PIT: The drugs the Doctor used to cozen him
And bend him to our will are not worn off.

HAR: Damn that doctor through eternity
He from the grave doth take the savor off
This moment with his thrice-cursed medicines.
What of the woman and his son and heir?
Hold not thy tongue! You’ve heard a thing, I trow.

PIT: The men we sent to do the job were found.

HAR: And they report that all is truly done?

PIT: The men speak not, my Baron: they are dead.

HAR: Of course they are, thou fool. Unclench thy jaw!

PIT: The men were dead when they were found, my Lord.

HAR: Thou slave! And what then of the woman and the boy?

PIT: No sign, my lord. A worm did come upon
Those who investigated at the site.
‘Tis possible all is as we had wished.

HAR: In possibilities we dare not deal.
And where’s the ornothopter we have lost?

PIT: A man of Leto’s company escaped
‘Twas Idaho or else another man.
The situation is in hand, my Lord.

HAR: Not so! Where is that planetologist?

PIT: He hath been sent for, and we’ve where to look.

HAR: I do mislike the help that he hath giv’n.
This servant of the Emperor plays false.
Where is the ducal signet ring? ‘Tis gone.

KUDU: The Sardaukar say that he had it not.

HAR: You killed the doctor early: a mistake
That means no good to this our enterprise.

LETO (aside): Escaped. Then Paul and Jessica have hope.
And I have but a tooth with which to strike.

HAR: How long shall Duke Atreides slumber thus?

PIT: I think he waketh even now, my lord.

HAR: I see. Duke Leto, I know you can hear
My words. We want to know where fled your son
And aye the concubine you got him on.

LETO (aside): They have not Paul and Jessica, praise God.

HAR: This is no child’s game we play, good Duke.

A cry of pain is heard from off

HAR: Dost hear that noise? A man of yours was caught
Among the Fremen of the desert sand.
I’ve lived upon this planet, too, cher coz.
One spyeth not on desert scum. Hast thou
Thy wife and child sent to such as these?
And paid them in a coin thou couldst afford?

LETO (aside): If Yueh sent them there, the search ends not.

HAR: Pain is quick when one runs short of time.
Force me not to this gross extremity
My Mentat hath not all his tools, and yet
Improvisation is a gift of his.

PIT: Improvisation sometimes is the best.

HAR: You had a bolthole cunningly devised
Where have the woman and the boy been sent?
Hath the boy your ring, to rule the sands?
You answer not? Wilt force me to a thing
I do not wish to do? Your noble blood
Should not be spilled in such a wise as this.

PIT: Hot tallow on the back, or in the eyes
Or other fleshly parts hath potent charms
And make a tapestry of scalded flesh
Enchanting to the lover of the art.

LETO (aside): Who have they caught? Forgive me, loyal man!

HAR: Dear Leto, you shall tell us in the end
Where we may find thy woman and thy son
For pain’s a coin that buyeth every man.

LETO (aside): And he would have the right of it but for
The tooth that hideth in my mouth and that
I truly know not whither they have gone.
This life hath been a good one, now to end
Both it and he who hath my downfall been.
LETO bites the tooth and exhales.

KUDU: Poison! Save my lord!
He throws HARKONNEN to the other side of a closing door.

PIT: O, I am slain!


NEFUD: Alarum! Gas masks! Ho! Get blowers on!

HAR: Are all within the room indeed deceased?

NEFUD: My Lord, the poison gas too potent was
For any man to breathe and yet survive.

HAR: Then Captain Nefud, for so now you are
Have my congratulation and my thanks.

NEF: To my lord’s safety I shall me devote.

HAR: So now to business: find out what it was
The Duke concealed in his mouth and so
Hath nearly him revenged on all my house.


BASHAR: Leave off, thou jackal villains, touch me not.
And Baron tell your men to never seek
Me to impede when I would speak with you
Or you’ll have less of them than you’d prefer.
Atreides’ Duke was brought to you before
I could discuss his fate with you, and now
We shall discuss it ere I quit this room.

HAR: So what hast thou to say of such import?

BASHAR: My Emperor hath charged me to ensure
His royal cousin cleanly lose his life.

HAR: So hath the Emperor commanded me
Didst think I’d disobey the royal word?

BASHAR: I’m charged to bear the witness of mine eyes
Today before the throne Imperial.

HAR: The Duke is dead and suffereth no more.
No more do I, you are dismissed, Bashar.

BASHAR: How came he dead?

HAR: By poison, if you must
Inquire, and by his own most noble hand.

BASHAR: I’ll see his body in the proof of this
Seek not to put me off, but open now.

HAR (aside): This Sardaukar shall see how near the Duke
Did come to dragging me with him to hell
And think me weak that I almost was caught
(to Nefud) The colonel bashar shall see what he wills.
Take him within, and by this selfsame door.


HAR (aside): Without restraint I must again Rabban
Install upon this planet damnable
And spend my own Harkonnen blood to make
It for Harkonnen blood more suitable
In person of Feyd-Rautha, who my heir
Shall be. O damn thee Piter, so to die
Before I’ve had my use of thee in full!

GUARD: Hath my lord Baron orders?

HAR: Send for food.
And I would be diverted while you clear
That room and find its secrets out for me.

GUARD: What diversion doth my lord desire?

HAR: I’ll be within my chambers. Bring to me
The boy with lovely eyes we bought upon
Gamont. And drug him well; I’ve appetite
For sport, but not to wrestle. Such a boy
Who hath the look upon him of the one
I lost today. Young Paul Atreides’ face.