William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act V, Scene v.

The Ducal Residence of Arrakeen.


GURN: It doth remember me the day we came
With all thy father’s men. I much misliked
This castle then: I so mislike it now,
And any cave i’th’hills would safer be.

STIL: He speaketh like a Fremen. So, Muad’Dib?

PAUL: This was the dwelling of Rabban, and more,
My father’s when it was his judgment seat.
In taking it, I raise Atreides’ flag
Upon a staff that none may countervene.
Touch nothing, but leave no Harkonnen rats
Alive within it to disturb our peace.

STIL: By your command, it shall be done, Muad’Dib.


PAUL: Have Chani and my mother brought to me
And tell me if she knoweth of our son.

GURN: The word was sent, my lord. They come anon.
The Emperor hides yet within his ship.

PAUL: For now, contain him. Is Harkonnen found?

GURN: The dead are yet unnumbered and unnamed
But that work goes apace amid the wrack
Of storm and maker strewn upon the plain.

PAUL: Have we a word from that great fleet in space?

GURN: They deign not to reply unto our calls.

PAUL: Bring me a captive Sardaukar, that we
May send our terms unto the Emperor.

GURN: Aye, my Lord.

PAUL:                                     Since we have been rejoined
I’ve yet to hear you match th’occasion with
A quote as thou wast always wont to do.

GURN: As you wish, my Lord: “And on that day
The victory was into mourning turned
Unto the people, for they heard say how
The king did grieve his son.” And there’s an end.



ALIA: I have the future pierced to leave these words
Where only you can hear them. T’is a play
That none but I can do: know now that I
Have killed our grandfather, whose mass of flesh
Could not protect him from my painless death.

Exit ALIA.


PAUL: You have Harkonnen’s Baron lately found,
And he is dead, whose living was a curse.

STIL: How could you know? His carcass only now
Discovered was without the Emperor’s ship?


GURN: Here is an officer of them, my Lord.

PAUL: Know you that I, Duke Paul, Atreides’ lord
Do stand before thee. Dost thou understand?
Thine Emperor’s life hangs upon thy words:
Acknowledge me before these witnesses.

SARD: You are Duke Paul, Great House Atreides’ lord.

PAUL: I have a message for thine Emperor,
And you shall say this with exactitude:
“I, Duke of House Atreides, Kinsman of
The House Imperial, Corrino’s line
Do under the Convention give my word
Of bond that if the Emperor and all
His people shall lay down their shields and arms
And meet me in this place, then I shall guard
Them with my blood. I swear it by this ring.”
Thou knowest I speak truth, for who could claim
To order Gurney Halleck but Atreides?

SARD: Your will and message I shall carry out.

PAUL: Now send him to his Emperor for us.

GURN: It shall be done, my lord.


STIL: Chani and your mother are arrived.
And Chani seeks time with her grief alone.
Your mother cloistereth herself within
The weirding room for reasons I know not.

PAUL: My mother pineth for a planet far
That she may never see, where water falls
Out of the sky, and plants grow thick as walls
That suffer none to pass their guardianship.

STIL: Water falling from the very sky.

PAUL (aside): O Stilgar, Fremen warrior and friend:
How art thou fallen thus, that thou shouldst take
The man who was thy friend now for thy god?
O that I stepped alive into the grave
Ere I had seen a friend that I have loved
Become a worshipper of that Muad’Dib
Muad’Dib from whom all blessings flow, withal,
Whom I am now become, and yet, play on!
No act of any man, nor he nor I,
Can halt time’s river in its raging flood,
That I must dam my mounting to the throne
If I do hope to stem that greater tide,
Jihad, which drowns the universe in flame,
An ever-branching future Acheron
That damneth me to victory undreamt.

STIL: Rabban, the Beast of Carthag, too, is dead.


JESS: O where is Alia, where is my child?

PAUL: She doth her duty like a Fremen child:
To kill the wounded of the enemy
And mark their corpses for the water of
Their flesh, that we may have it for our world.

JESS: How canst thou speak so? Art thou hard as stone
That frames this world, and is thy conscience dried
And dead as all the sand that covers it?

PAUL: It is a cruel kindness that she does,
For they are secret sisters, cruelty
And kindness that do clasp their hidden hands
In darkness, where we see their union not.

JESS: The men tell stories of the things you see:
That thou canst see where others may not look
With all the eldritch powers of the legend,
And that nothing can from thee be hid.

PAUL: A Bene Gesserit should shy at legends?

JESS: My hand indeed is in whate’er thou art,
But think not that I’d eat my cooking blind.

PAUL: Where wast thou when I did live the lives
Of billions upon billions of our folk
Stretched out upon the oceans of the void
And bounded by eternities of time,
The tapestry of legend, spread throughout
The castle of ten thousand years and more!
Imagine the experience, the thoughts
Of wisdom as a mount of adamant
That tempers love, and strips the guise of hate.
How canst thou think thow knowest ruthlessness
If thou hast not the arsenals of wrath
And cruelty explored, nor seen the vaults
Of kindness that our race hath treasured up?
O fear me, mother: I have known them all
For I indeed am Kwisatz Haderach.

JESS: Thou said thou wast no Kwisatz Haderach.

PAUL: I can no more deny that which I am
Or any thing that is beneath the stars.
The Emperor and all his people come
And bring my future bride: attend on me.
For I must view them clear as they approach.

JESS: O Paul, repeat thy father’s errors not!

PAUL: She is a princess: more she shall not be.
Go to! Dost thou believe that since I am
This that I have become I do not thirst
Nor hunger for revenge? Though I am man
Who walks between the worlds, I yet am man.

JESS: Revenge upon the innocent as well?

PAUL: Upon this world there stand none innocent.

JESS: Repeat those words to Chani, an’ thou dare.

Enter CHANI.

CHA: Beloved, he is dead. Our son is dead.

PAUL: May flights of angels sing him to his rest
Unto an ocean heaven rich with rain.
He cannot be replaced within our hearts,
But Usul swears to you that other sons
And daughters also, there shall be to us.

STIL: Muad’Dib.

PAUL:                        The Emperor with all his folk
Are marching from their ship. Assemble them
Who are our prisoners before us here
That they may see our victory complete.


GURN: They come, bereft of any weapon thrown
And thereof have I made me double-sure.
Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen doth march with them,
An’ please it you, my lord, I’ll cut him out.

PAUL: Leave him.

GURN:                        There are Guildsmen threatening
Embargo ‘gainst Arrakis, and demand
A host of privileges as their rights.

PAUL: Their threats have not the weight of empty space.

JESS: Paul! He speaketh of the Spacing Guild.

PAUL: I’ll pull their fangs to use as Fremen take
The teeth of dying worms to use for knives.
For they are worms that feed upon the blood
Of Dune and the Imperium withal:
A parasite that needs what we control
And they shall learn their place or die this day.

GURN: A Reverend Mother, too, there is, that saith
She is your mother’s friend, and would be seen.

PAUL: My mother hath no Bene Gess’rit friends.

GURN: And Thufir Hawat’s with them, lord, as well.
I could not speak to him alone, but he
Observing this, did speak in coded signs
O’th’hands, as we Atreides used of old:
That he did think that thou wast dead, and so
Hath served Harkonnen’s Baron to this day
And that he should be left unto his lot.

PAUL: Thou suffered Thufir to remain with them?

GURN: It was his wish, and I did think it best.
If aught’s amiss, he’s where we have control.
If not, his ear is ours, and hears for us.

PAUL (aside): What’s done is done. I saw a glimpse of this
Among the many visions out of time
When Thufir by the Emperor was charged
To raise the gom jabbar against my flesh.
Now present is the future, dawns the day
Arrakis lieth at the hub of time
With wheel poised to spin and tell the fate
That every man receiveth, soon or late.