#76 = Volume 25, Part 3 = November 1998
The Monomyth as Fractal Pattern in Frank Herbert’s Dune Novels
1. Frank Herbert wrote that Dune “was to be an ecological novel...with many overtones.”1 As I have argued in “‘Plots Within Plots ... Patterns Within Patterns’: Chaos-Theory Concepts and Structures in Frank Herbert’s Dune Novels,” this ecological motif is integrated into many of the other most prominent elements of the Dune Chronicles, what we might call their “overtones,” through mutual connections to chaos-theory concepts and structures. As chaos theory is the study of orderly patterns in turbulent, erratic, or dynamical systems, and as an ecology is by definition a dynamical system, chaos-theory concepts provide insight into the dynamics of any ecology, and the orderly patterns discernible within an ecology will reveal chaos-theory structures. Dune’s Imperial Planetary Ecologist, Dr. Kynes, views Dune’s ecology within a chaos-theory model, as a dynamical system that might be radically altered through a minimal change in one key variable, “the water cycle,” affecting its interlocking feedback loops (Dune, 1:274/269, 1:139/137). And many of the characters or groups embroiled in the schemes within schemes that constitute the plot of the Dune series reveal themselves to be de facto chaos theorists in the recurring similarity of their statements or actions to chaos-theory axioms. This circle of nascent chaos theorists includes not only Kynes, but also Paul, Leto II, the Bene Gesserit, the Mentats, and the Fremen; and, as ecology is a chaos-theory science, their declarations or representations of chaos-theory maxims implicitly, and often explicitly, reinforce the series’ ecological theme.
As in the specific instance of an ecology, key elements in any dynamical system are by definition mutually interdependent: the behavior of one variable affects the behavior of other variables. Thus, any dynamical system is fundamentally recursive, rather than linear, and feedback is an essential aspect of this characteristic nonlinearity (Briggs and Peat 24). Because fractal geometry images are generated by repeatedly feeding the result back into a nonlinear equation to replace one of the initial terms, these images are visual representations of feedback; and fractal geometry is indispensable to the analysis of dynamical systems because “the structures that provide the key to nonlinear dynamics prove to be fractal” (Gleick 114). “A visual representation of chaotic behavior,” a fractal is an image “with an infinite amount of self-similarity” generated in “the realm of dynamical systems” by the “repeated application of an algorithm” or by the reiteration of recursive geometric procedures (Laplante 20, 3-4, 14-15). “Above all, fractal [means] self-similar” (Gleick 103). And “‘self-similarity’...means [both] a repetition of detail at descending scales” (Briggs and Peat 90)—“pattern inside of pattern” (Gleick 103)—and duplication of details across the same scale. Thus, “the structure of the whole is often reflected in every part,” and any part might appear to be both “a small reproduction of the larger image” and a near-clone of innumerable like structures on the same scale (Laplante 3).
The interrelationship of dynamical systems, feedback, and fractal geometry points to a deep aesthetic resonance between the ecological theme of the Dune series and many of its “overtones”—the plot structure and recurring metaphors of the series as well as its other motifs and themes per se—and also between this ecological theme with all its “overtones” and the frequent reiteration of these and other structures, themes, motifs, and metaphors throughout the course of the series. In mirroring its ecological theme, the dynamical-systems (or “ecological”) plot structure of the Dune Chronicles echoes the fractal’s definitive quality of “self-similarity” in both its aspects. That is, the Dune series exhibits a pervasive, polysemic fractal structure; thus—as a fractal structure is the type of structure evident in any dynamical system, such as an ecology, and as ecological themes inform the Dune series throughout—the Dune Chronicles achieves the aesthetic sophistication of echoing its ecological theme within its fractal structure, and it does this in a variety of ways. The fractal’s characteristic “pattern inside of pattern” structure is realized in the relentlessly recurring “plans within plans within plans” (1:18/18), “plots within plots” (Dune Messiah, 2:37/33), and “patterns within patterns” (Chapterhouse: Dune, 6:207/223) structure of the various characters’ schemes, which interact repeatedly not only within each novel, but also in the overarching plot of the series as a whole. And while the repetition with variations of this “pattern inside of pattern” structure within each of the series’ six volumes in itself corresponds to the fractal’s complementary characteristic of duplication across the same scale, this fractal quality of self-similarity as duplication across the same scale is exhibited as well in the repetition of ancillary parallel plot structures, themes, and motifs throughout the series: themes such as metamorphosis into the other, addiction, secrecy and disguise, and rebellion, as well as the interrelated motifs of the journey to the underworld, tests and trials, death and rebirth, apotheosis, and revelation, all of which are subsumed into the encompassing monomythic structure that recurs in each volume of the series.
In my earlier essay, “‘Plots Within Plots ... Patterns Within Patterns,’” I demonstrated that numerous chaos-theory axioms are cited or enacted by the Dune series’ characters, and I discussed the series’ fractal reiteration of its more discrete themes of metamorphosis, addiction, secrecy, disguise, and rebellion. This present article focuses on the Dune novels’ fractal reiteration of the monomyth and its component motifs to demonstrate that the series exhibits a fractal structure—and thus accomplishes the impressive aesthetic achievement of mirroring its ecological theme in its structure—by identifying the monomyth as the single and recurring framework which shapes and contains the series’ consistent duplication (albeit with variations, innovations, and inversions) from novel to novel (that is, across the same scale) of those numerous individual elements that are the monomyth’s component motifs. The artistry of this aesthetic achievement is compounded by the fact that such mirroring is itself an essential characteristic of the fractal image (duplication across the same scale) and by the fact that the monomyth is in itself intrinsically fractal.
Moreover, an examination of the monomyth as it appears in each of these novels also reveals an unusual, oblique use of this fundamental plot structure: the monomyth can be seen to provide tremendous narrative power, not only when it furnishes the structure of the main plot, that is, when the protagonist is the monomythic hero, but also when the monomyth is incorporated into the structure of a subsidiary plot intersecting the main plot, that is, when the monomythic hero is not the central character. Two monomythic heroes—the series’ two most prescient characters, Paul Atreides and his son Leto II as a child—are, respectively, the protagonists in Dune and Children of Dune. However, the monomythic hero is himself a reiteration, a revenant replica, in each novel in the series in which he is not the main character. The remaining monomythic heroes are the clone of the deceased Miles Teg in Chapterhouse: Dune and the series’ three most prominent Duncan Idaho gholas—Idaho-2 (the first Idaho ghola, created by the Bene Tleilax for Paul) in Dune Messiah, Idaho-4 (the last Idaho ghola created for Leto II) in God Emperor of Dune, and Idaho-5 (the final Idaho ghola, created for the Bene Gesserit) in Heretics of Dune.2
A brief reorientation to the volumes in the Dune Chronicles, as well as a review of scholarly publications relevant to my analysis of the series, may be helpful at this point. The inhospitable desert planet Arrakis—also known as Dune—is of crucial economic and political importance because it is the only source of melange, the addictive “spice” that is indispensable to interstellar travel. Melange makes navigation at trans-light speeds possible by enabling certain users to foresee the future. After the assassination of his father Duke Leto in Dune, Paul Atreides acquires unprecedented prescient powers through using melange and then leads a revolt by the native Fremen population of Arrakis that deposes the Harkonnen usurpers. This leads to the downfall of the imperial Corrino dynasty which had backed the Harkonnens and establishes Paul as Emperor of the known universe and the Atreides as the new imperial family. In Dune Messiah, Paul is blinded and forced to abdicate his throne as the result of a conspiracy which also causes his wife, Chani, to die while giving birth to their twins, Leto II and Ghanima. That Idaho-2 regains Duncan Idaho’s persona immediately after Chani dies is a crucial element of this conspiracy, for the Tleilaxu thus demonstrate their ability to restore to a ghola its original persona at the very moment they offer to provide Paul with a perfect ghola duplicate of Chani in return for control of the empire. Paul resists this temptation. In Children of Dune, young Leto II acquires his father’s prescient abilities and ultimately merges symbiotically with Arrakis’s sandtrout (a stage in the sandworm life-cycle) while thwarting a series of assassination attempts. Bonding with the sandtrout gives Leto II invulnerability, great longevity, and inhuman speed and strength, but it also leads to his gradual metamorphosis into a sandworm. Thirty-five hundred years later, in God Emperor of Dune, a transformed Leto II engineers his own assassination at the hands of Idaho-4 and Siona, a descendant of Paul’s. This is the culmination of his millennia-spanning scheme to insure humanity’s survival by breeding it for invisibility to prescience and then manipulating it into “Scattering” explosively throughout the universe. Fifteen hundred years afterwards, in Heretics of Dune, Bene Gesserit Mother Superior Taraza raises Idaho-5 to be the bait in her successful plot finally to break Leto II’s lingering hold on humanity’s future by luring the Honored Matres into destroying Arrakis and its worms. The Honored Matres are perverse doubles of the Bene Gesserit who have returned from humanity’s “Scattering” across the cosmos to conquer and enslave the Old Empire. And in Chapterhouse: Dune, Taraza’s successor, Odrade, uses both Idaho-5 and the Teg clone as instruments in her successful scheme to co-opt the Honored Matres and thus end their systematic extermination of the Bene Gesserit.
Scholarly works on the Dune Chronicles which are most relevant to this present analysis undertake a variety of critical approaches. They consider the series’ ecological theme (Schmitt-v. Muhlenfels), link this theme to the series’ use of death and immortality motifs (McLean), compare the series to Asimov’s Foundation novels (Grigsby 1981, 1984, Riggs), examine the series’ con-ception of history (DiTommaso), and argue that Dune is an epic (Cirasa, Collings). None of these studies, however, notes that the Dune series’ ecological theme is reinforced by the chaos-theory views of many of its most prominent characters and echoed in the fractal reiteration of its metaphors, motifs, and structures—even though the underlying and crucial commonality between the Dune Chronicles and the Foundation series is precisely the fact that both series feature central chaos-theory concepts—ecology and psychohistory, respectively—which are then relentlessly mirrored in fractal reiterations of each series’ motifs and structures (Palumbo 1996 and 1997). And none of the studies mentioned above notes even in passing Herbert’s use of the monomyth in the Dune Chronicles—even though the series’ status as an epic is surely related to its reliance on the monomyth, and even though Collings and McLean discuss at length the series’ death-and-rebirth and underground-journey motifs, both of which are features of one of the mono-myth’s crucial elements, the hero’s journey to the world womb/being swallowed in the belly of the whale.
While Norman Spinrad does note the reiteration of the monomyth in the Dune Chronicles, he appears to recognize the monomythic hero in Paul and Leto II only, that is, in the series’ heroic protagonists, and not in the Teg clone or the Idaho gholas. In his essay, “Emperor of Everything,” Spinrad observes that Dune and its sequels are among many “novels of real literary worth” that retell “at least in plot summary terms” the “cross-cultural archetypal tale” explicated in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. He argues that the monomyth all too often becomes a “formula for crud” when it is used as the basic plot of science-fiction and fantasy novels in which the hero fails finally to “attain...spiritual transcendence” (151-52). As Spinrad also observes, Paul “ultimately fails” to perform the “final task of the true [monomythic] hero...for the modern world”—which Spinrad interprets as returning “to the world of men not as an avatar of the godhead, but as Everyman reborn, as the democratic avatar of the godhead within us all”—but he excuses Herbert because he recognizes that Paul is tragically aware of his failure to “transcend his transcendence” and that such tragic irony “makes the first three books in the Dune series...a mordant commentary on the story of the Hero with a Thousand Faces...instead of a masturbatory power fantasy” (153-55). Yet Spinrad goes on, inaccurately, to indict the “latter Dune novels” for retelling the monomyth without either retaining its spiritual significance or providing any saving, compensatory irony; he also concludes that Leto II in God Emperor of Dune is nothing more than a “degenerate” monomythic hero, “the Emperor of Everything” as “Der Fuhrer” (156-58 passim).
While Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune are clearly weaker in many respects than the earlier Dune novels—although they cannot be faulted for lacking irony—in God Emperor of Dune Leto II does finally transcend his transcendence by engineering his own death and thereby returning freedom to the humanity from whom he has systematically stripped it. He thus becomes, in Spinrad’s own terms, yet another “democratic avatar of the godhead within us all.” In fact, Leto II transcends his transcendence in the very act of attaining it: the only reason he becomes “an avatar of the godhead” through merging with the sandtrout in Children of Dune is in order to pursue his explicit plan to correct Paul’s vision of the future—to redeem Paul’s failure to transcend his transcendence—a goal which takes him 3,500 years to accomplish and which takes as well the initial sacrifice of his humanity and the final sacrifice of his extended life, and which compels him, in an epic irony equal to any in the first three Dune novels, to oppress humanity for three millennia in order finally to liberate it. Moreover, the monomythic heroes in the final three Dune novels are Idaho-4, Idaho-5, and the Teg clone; all three of these oblique monomythic heroes do serve quite well as literal examples of “Everyman reborn, as the democratic avatar of the godhead within us all.” Leto II is recast in God Emperor of Dune as a herald of the unknown world, as the hermit/teacher /guide who provides a talisman, and as the ogre-father with whom the hero must be reconciled.
That the Dune novels are a mordant, ironic commentary on the monomyth, however, is only one of many innovations made by Herbert in his use of this particular plot structure in each of the six volumes in the series. Far from indicating a lack of creative imagination, Herbert’s repeated recycling of the monomyth entails a profoundly inventive investigation of this archetypal plot that reveals the monomyth’s intrinsically fractal character, since this recycling employs reiterations of the monomyth to reinforce, by echoing concept in structure, the Dune series’ ecological theme. While his numerous specific inversions, variations, and ironic manipulations of the monomyth are discussed in detail below, several of Herbert’s broader reinterpretations of the monomyth are worth noting at this point. Chief among these is his decision to make the monomythic hero a secondary character, and the monomyth itself a subplot intersecting the main plot, in Dune Messiah, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. In doing this, Herbert further undercuts the status of the monomythic hero; for, while Paul and Leto II—as protagonists and monomythic heroes in Dune and Children of Dune, respectively—are preeminently plotters and schemers, the Idaho gholas and the Teg clone are merely agents, and primarily pawns in the schemes of others, as secondary characters and monomythic heroes in the remaining novels. Also, while Paul’s and Leto II’s apotheoses entail the acquisition of supreme power, the apotheoses of the Idaho gholas and the Teg clone are always most centrally revelations of the self—and thus, ironically, are intrinsically more conducive to the retention of that spiritual center of the monomyth valued by Spinrad. And while Leto II as monomythic hero is similar in most respects to Paul as monomythic hero, Leto II seizes even greater personal power than his father had. He accepts the path leading to the Tyrant Worm—and to the transcendence of transcendence—that Paul had rejected, only to relinquish that power finally when he attains the complete self-effacement which Paul cannot bear but which the hero must exhibit if the monomyth’s spiritual dimension is to be retained.
Herbert also achieves remarkable ironies by assigning to the same character (or his reiterations) different, and often diametrically opposed, roles from the monomyth in different volumes of the series. In God Emperor of Dune, for instance, Leto II, the monomythic hero in Children of Dune, becomes the herald of the unknown world, the hermit/teacher/guide, and the ogre-father, while Idaho-4 becomes the hero. In Dune Messiah, Paul, the monomythic hero of Dune, becomes both a herald and the father-figure to Idaho-2 as hero; in Children of Dune, he is also a herald, the hermit/wizard/guide who provides supernatural aid and who personifies the hero’s destiny, and the father-figure to Leto II as hero. Conversely, Idaho is both teacher and protective guardian to Paul as hero in Dune, prior to becoming the monomythic hero himself as Idaho-2 in Dune Messiah. And Idaho-5, the monomythic hero in Heretics of Dune, is a herald and father-figure to the Teg clone as hero in Chapterhouse: Dune, while the original Teg is a teacher and father-figure to Idaho-5 as hero in Heretics of Dune. Such role inversions involve the female characters as well: for example, Paul’s mother, Jessica, and his sister, Alia—who assume the monomythic role of the “goddess” as “good mother” who combines all opposites in Dune and Dune Messiah, respectively—both become incarnations of the “goddess” as “bad mother” in Children of Dune.
The monomyth as Campbell describes it is a structure that shapes the adventure of the male hero only, relegating to women such roles as “crone,” “goddess,” or “temptress.” Although Herbert does not go so far as to create a female monomythic hero, another of his innovations is frequently to have a female character share in the hero’s role, in addition to assuming those roles normally taken by women in the monomyth. This is so especially in the latter Dune novels, in which women characters either participate in events crucial to the monomyth in the hero’s stead, or partake in much of the adventure with the hero. Thus, more so than Idaho-4, it is Siona, bred to be invisible to prescience, who possesses exceptional gifts and who experiences the apotheosis and receives its revelation in God Emperor of Dune. While both characters bring about Leto II’s death, it is Siona, not Idaho-4, “who must be tested” with the “spice-essence” and whom Leto II takes to the unknown world of his Sareer to test (4:15/24, 4:347/341), just as it is she who survives his D-wolves in the novel’s opening scene. Similarly, it is the desert waif Sheeana—“a new Siona” (5:87/94)—an orphan possessing exceptional gifts (she discovers she can control the sandworms after one devours her parents and village), who crosses a threshold to an unknown world to be tested (in Keen, where she is tested by its priests), and who participates in an underground journey (to the remains of Sietch Tabr) in Heretics of Dune; and it is she, not Idaho-5, who acts as the “initiating priest” who restores the Teg clone’s persona in Chapterhouse: Dune (6:290-91/310-11). Likewise, as much as the Teg clone, it is the renegade Honored Matre Murbella who experiences in the spice agony an apotheosis that is also a death and rebirth experience in Chapterhouse: Dune (6:327-30/349-53). To a lesser extent, Jessica shares much of her son Paul’s adventure in Dune, while Ghanima shares the beginning of her brother Leto II’s adventure in Children of Dune.
2. The Monomyth. In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell defines the monomyth as that single “consciously controlled” pattern most widely exhibited in the world’s folk tales, myths, and religious fables (255-56). Its morphology is, in broad outline, that of the quest: the hero is called to an adventure, crosses the threshold to an unknown world to endure tests and trials, and usually returns with a boon which benefits his fellows (36-38). Although he agrees with Carl Jung that “the changes rung on the simple scale of the monomyth defy description” (246), Campbell’s analysis fills in this outline with an anatomy of the archetypal hero and with descriptions of those specific incidents likely to occur in each of the three stages of the hero’s adventure.
The product of a virgin or special birth (297-314), Campbell’s monomythic hero may have been orphaned or in exile as a child, may be seeking his father, and may triumph over pretenders as the true son (318-34). He possesses exceptional gifts, and the world he inhabits suffers a symbolic deficiency (337). He does not fear death, and his role is to make the world spiritually significant and to make humankind comprehensible to itself (388). If he is a warrior, he will change the status quo (334-41). If he is a lover, his triumph may be symbolized by a woman and his accomplishment of the impossible task may lead to the bridal bed (342-45). If he is a tyrant or ruler, his search for the father will lead to the invisible unknown from which he will return as a lawgiver (345-49). If he is a world-redeemer, he will learn that he and the father are one (349-54). And if he is a saint or mystic, he will transcend both life and myth to enter an inexpressible realm beyond forms (354-55).
The adventure’s departure stage may entail up to five incidents: receiving a call to adventure in the guise of a blunder that reveals an unknown world or through the appearance of a terrifying herald character; refusing the call; receiving supernatural aid; crossing a magical threshold that leads to a sphere of rebirth; and being swallowed in “the belly of the whale”—a descent into the unknown that symbolizes death and resurrection, and that may also involve an underground journey symbolic of a descent into hell (36). The initiation stage may include up to six incidents: a series of tests and trials, including the hero’s assimilation of his opposite, his shadow, or his unsuspected self; his meeting, and possibly marrying, a mother-goddess; his encounter with a temptress; his atonement with his father; his apotheosis; and his acquisition of a boon (36). The return stage may also contain up to six incidents: the hero’s refusal to return; his magical flight from the unknown world; his rescue from outside the unknown world; his recrossing the threshold; his acquisition of the power to cross the threshold freely; and his conscious realization that he is the vehicle of the cosmic cycle of change (37).
3. Qualities of the Hero. Each of the Dune series’ six monomythic heroes is the product of a special or virgin birth who possesses exceptional gifts. Royal-born Paul is “a freak” (1:195/192). The unexpected culmination of the Bene Gesserit breeding scheme who appears one generation too soon, he is a genetic mutation who possesses the unique abilities of a Kwisatz Haderach, “a male Bene Gesserit whose organic mental powers would bridge space and time” (1:522/xviii). Leto II’s birth and abilities are even more exceptional. “An aware, thinking entity before birth” (2:244/192), Leto gestates in a monstrously accelerated pregnancy which kills his mother in childbirth and is “born with a totality of genetic memory” (Children of Dune, 3:4/12), i.e., full access to the memories of all of his ancestors. In addition, he has the potential to develop all of Paul’s prescient abilities and the ability to join in a symbiotic union with Dune’s sandtrout that gives him invulnerability and superhuman speed and strength.
Since they are reproduced in axlotl tanks from cell scrapings, all three of the Idaho gholas and the Teg clone are the products of literal virgin births, for the “axlotl tanks” are actually Tleilaxu females “linked” by “a maze of dark tubes...to giant metal containers” (5:426/435). In addition, each of these oblique monomythic heroes also has exceptional abilities. Each of the Idaho gholas shares with the original Duncan Idaho the distinction of being the greatest swordsman in history. Hayt, the first Idaho ghola (Idaho-2), is in addition a Mentat and a Zensunni philosopher. Leto II’s last Idaho ghola (Idaho-4) is “more reckless than any of the others” (4:297/295). And the final Idaho ghola (Idaho-5), who had “long...known he was something special” (5:22/31), is created with accelerated reflexes (5:162/171) and the ability, not only to recover his original persona, but also to regain the memories of his scores of past ghola lives (5:425/434-35). He is also capable of amplifying female sexual response (5:426-27/435-36), and can perceive, beyond the boundaries of the Old Empire, the Face Dancer “masters” in the Scattering and their “net” (6:75/85). Another “special child” (6:12/20), the Teg clone, on recovering his original persona, acquires mentat Bashar Miles Teg’s “military genius” (6:3/11) as well as the extraordinary powers the original Teg had developed shortly before his death—the ability to move with superhuman speed, to sense imminent danger, and to perceive no-ships (spacecraft undetectable even to prescient awareness).
Moreover, each of these monomythic heroes is an exile or an orphan; most, in some way, are seeking a father; and several triumph over pretenders as true sons. Paul is exiled to Arrakis from his native planet Caladan, is partially orphaned there by his father’s assassination, and must then flee the Imperial city Arrakeen to live in exile among the Fremen in the unknown desert. Paul kills Feyd-Rautha—Baron Harkonnen’s nephew, and thus Paul’s cousin and a pretender to the throne of Paul’s ducal fief—immediately before seizing the title of Emperor for himself.
Leto II is orphaned at the conclusion of Dune Messiah by Chani’s death in childbirth and by Paul’s disappearance into and presumed death in the desert. In Children of Dune Leto exiles himself from Sietch Tabr to the deep desert—echoing his father’s flight from Arrakeen—when he pretends to have fallen victim to House Corrino’s attempt to assassinate him, and he eventually abandons his humanity—another mode of exile—when he merges with the sandtrout. Leto suspects that a wandering desert Preacher may be his father in disguise (3:9/17) and determines to seek him out (3:34/42; see also 3:300/304). He finally confronts the Preacher, recognizes him as his “father” (3:340/342), and then triumphs over three pretenders: Assan Tariq, the Preacher’s guide and surrogate son, Alia, Leto’s aunt who rules as Regent, and Farad’n, the previous Emperor’s grandson and the scion of House Corrino. Each of the Idaho gholas, as well as the Teg clone, share two uniquely different forms of exile: that of being divorced from one’s own persona until it can be restored through the staging of a psychic conflict that forces the original persona to reassert itself; and that of being divorced from one’s own time, as each is reborn after his death into a world radically different from the one he had known. Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Schwangyu, hiding the fact that he is a ghola, tells Idaho-5 only that he is “an orphan” (5:29/37). This is literally true, of course, as his parents are long-since deceased. Thus, each of the Idaho gholas, and the Teg clone as well, translates the monomythic hero’s search for the father into a desperate quest for knowledge of an even more immediate predecessor, as each becomes obsessed with recovering his original persona, driven by the desire to “know myself as once I was” (2:131/107).
Each of these monomythic heroes also demonstrates that he has no fear of death. For example, Leto II clearly orchestrates his own death at the conclusion of God Emperor of Dune. Each also inhabits a world that suffers symbolic deficiencies and either acts to make that world spiritually significant or, in some way, to make humankind more comprehensible to itself. Water, of course, is what is lacking on Arrakis; and the absence of water on Dune is symbolic of the lack of freedom suffered by the Fremen at the hands of their Harkonnen oppressors. On a deeper level, however, the absence of water is also symbolic of a spiritual emptiness—a divorce from the unconscious and thus from the divinity that dwells within one’s humanity—for Campbell notes that wells and other water repositories symbolize the unconscious and that the hero becomes an incarnation of god to reveal to all that everyone is an incarnation of god.
Paul—whom the Fremen accept as their “Lisan al-Gaib” or “Mahdi,” the “messiah” of “prophecy” who will “lead them to true freedom” (1:101/99)— teaches the Fremen that “they’re a people” as well as “how to escape their bondage” (1:451/445-46). He reluctantly founds the new religion of Muad’Dib that subsequently sweeps across the universe with his Jihad. Stilgar laments that the Arrakis of Children of Dune lacks the “cleaner values” (3:3/11) of his old Fremen days. While this is another sign of spiritual emptiness, the loss of those values which had enabled the Fremen to survive Dune’s harsh environment symbolizes also that threat to the survival of the human species which Leto II foresees as the result of future experimentation with artificial intelligence. It is this defiance of the values of the Butlerian Jihad’s 10,000-year-old proscription against thinking machines which Leto’s “Golden Path” is designed to counter. Leto “could...see himself as the potentially deified figure to lead mankind into a rebirth” (3:78/84). He claims that he is “here to give purpose to evolution and, therefore, to give purpose to our lives” (3:346/348), that he will “create a new consciousness in all men” (3:406/408). And the monomythic hero’s role in making the world spiritually significant and humankind comprehensible to itself is symbolically personified in the struggle for self-knowledge (to “know myself as once I was”) with which the oblique monomythic heroes in Dune Messiah, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune are all obsessed.
Another way in which these worlds are deficient, one made most explicit in God Emperor of Dune, is in their lack of freedom. This is the boon which Paul had won for the Fremen, but which Leto II strips from all humanity during his 3,500-year reign as the Tyrant, and which Idaho-4 and Siona must regain for humankind through Leto’s death. However, the greatest symbolic deficiency in the last three Dune novels—which focus on Leto II and then on the Bene Gesserit—is the lack of love. Although Leto II is saved from nearly losing touch with all human emotions by falling in love with Hwi Noree in God Emperor of Dune, his metamorphosis deprives him of the possibility of physical love. And the Bene Gesserit, while adept at physical love, view the emotion of love as a literal “deficiency” in that they see it as a “dangerous” weakness or defect to be “distrusted” and rooted out of their sisterhood (5:16/24, 5:21/29, 5:117-18/124-25, 5:130/138, 5:152/160, 5:182/192, 5:281/290, 5:344-45/353-54, 5:368/377, 5:403/411, 5:410/419; 6:24/32, 6:49-50/58, 6:58/66-67, 6:88/98, 6:421/448). Yet the conclusion of the Dune series suggests that, through the influence of Idaho-5 and his Honored Matre lover, Murbella, the Bene Gesserit will “relearn emotions” and “cling to” their nearly lost “humanity” (6:296/316, 6:316/338; see also 6:308/330, 6:314/336, 6:323/345).
4. Aspects of the Hero. Each of the Idaho gholas is both a “lover” and a “warrior,” as is Paul; and Idaho-2 and Idaho-5 are “mystics” as well, just as Paul is also a “tyrant/ruler,” “world-redeemer,” and “mystic.” In addition, both Leto II and the Teg clone are “warriors” and “mystics”; and Leto II is a “tyrant/ruler” and “world-redeemer” also. While each of these monomythic heroes embodies at least two of the five possible archetypal aspects of the hero, only Paul encompasses all five. And, within an acceptable degree of latitude, each of these heroes fulfills the specific destiny associated with each aspect of the hero which he embodies. As an illustration, let us look only at the hero as mystic.
A mystic by virtue of his prescient abilities, Paul transcends life and myth to enter an inexpressible realm beyond forms on at least two occasions. First he falls into a death-like trance, in which he experiences “the vision of pure time” (1:360/354), for three weeks following his transmutation of the Water of Life, the act that fully awakens his prescient abilities. And finally, at the conclusion of Dune Messiah, he disappears again “into the desert—like a Fremen” (2:272/214) after he is blinded. It is this act of fealty to their customs that makes Paul a “saint” (2:253/199, 2:279/221) to the Fremen, some of whom believe “that he had entered the ruh-world where all possible futures existed, that he would be present henceforth in the alam al-mythal” (2:273/215), “the mystical world of similitudes” (1:513/ix). Indeed, Leto II believes that “Paul Atreides had passed from the universe of reality into the alam al-mythal while still alive” (3:339/341). Paul had previously explained that, due to his prescience, “I am in the world beyond this world here. For me, they are the same.... I live in the cycle of being where the war of good and evil has its arena” (2:205/161-62). And his priesthood teaches that “he has gone on a journey into that land where we walk without footprints” (2:271/214).
Although it is a quality inherent in Leto II’s prescient abilities, Hwi Noree specifically notes that Leto is also a “mystic” (4:392/382). His ancestral “other memories” constitute the inexpressible realm beyond forms which he enters, in his frequent memory “safaris” (4:36/44), during his protracted lifetime; and after his death this realm beyond forms is the “endless dream” in which he lives on as “pearls of awareness” within the generations of sandworms to which his death gives birth (4:423/411)—and through which he attains the “formless” realm of “immortality” (4:420/408) by becoming an undying myth. As Zensunni philosophers and Mentats, Idaho-2 and Idaho-5 are mystics as well—as is the Teg clone, who is also a Mentat. And at the conclusion of Chapterhouse: Dune, both the Teg clone and Idaho-5 use their no-ship prison to escape the universe of the Dune series for an unknown destination in an unknown universe. Like Paul (another Mentat) at the conclusion of Dune Messiah, they too, as mystics, enter into an inexpressible realm beyond forms by disappearing from the universe known to humanity.
5. The Departure Stage. In the monomyth’s departure stage, the hero receives a “call to adventure” in the form of a “blunder” that “reveals an unsuspected world” or through the appearance of a “herald”—usually a beast, some veiled mysterious figure, or someone “dark, loathly, or terrifying, judged evil by the world”—who may literally call the hero “to live...or...to die” (Campbell 51, 53). The Dune novels are replete with such blunders and heralds. As Dune’s Imperial city of Arrakeen is an outpost of the Empire, the “unknown world” of Dune is not so much the planet Arrakis as it is the mysterious and literally unknown deep desert of Arrakis, home of the Fremen, to which Paul and Jessica flee in escaping the Harkonnens. The blunder that reveals this unknown world is the Atreides’ failure to recognize that Dr.Yueh is the traitor about whom they have been warned, for it is Yueh’s treachery that precipitates Paul’s and Jessica’s flight. The six heralds in Dune include the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, the “old crone” who appears at Castle Caladan to administer a test that will determine immediately if Paul will live or die (1:3/3); the evil Baron Harkonnen, a “beast” (1:181/178) with loathsome habits whom the reader first encounters “half-hidden in shadows” (1:14/13) and who reveals the plot designed to end in Paul’s death as well as Duke Leto’s; the Shadout Mapes, a Fremen servant who is almost killed by a hunter-seeker meant for Paul; Stilgar, the Fremen Naib from the deep desert who appears at the Atreides war council; Dr. Kynes, who first takes Paul into the desert; and the gigantic and terrifying “monster” (1:124/121) worm Paul sees there devouring the spice harvester.
Paul himself, in the guise of the Preacher, is the veiled and mysterious herald of the unknown world in Children of Dune. In a further ironic reversal, the Preacher serves as Leto’s herald in his return to the known world, Alia’s court at Arrakeen, at the novel’s conclusion. The Laza tigers are terrifying predatory beasts sent to Arrakis from Salusa Secundus, House Corrino’s planet of exile, to kill Leto and Ghanima. They are also heralds of the unknown world in Children of Dune, for the Laza tigers’ attack prompts Leto’s flight from Sietch Tabr into the unknown regions of the desert.
Rather than reveal the unknown world to the hero, the herald characters in Dune Messiah introduce the hero, Idaho-2, who is actually the most significant “unknown” of the novel, into what is to him an unknown world, Paul’s court on Arrakis. And this initial inversion is appropriate because the monomyth itself is inverted in this and in the last three novels, which place both monomyth and monomythic hero in secondary roles. The two conspirators most responsible for resurrecting Idaho as a ghola and employing him in their scheme—Edric, the “monstrous” and “repellent” (2:15/14) Guild Navigator, and Scytale, the shape-shifting Tleilaxu Face Dancer—are the loathly and evil heralds in Dune Messiah.
Idaho-4’s predecessor in Leto II’s service botches his attempt to assassinate the God Emperor, and this is the blunder that necessitates the introduction of Idaho-4 into the unknown world of Leto’s Citadel in God Emperor of Dune. Thus, in yet another inversion, it is Leto, the monomythic hero of Children of Dune, who becomes a herald in God Emperor of Dune, just as Paul, the monomythic hero of Dune, becomes a herald in Children of Dune. The most monstrous and terrifying of the heralds in the Dune series—literally a beast, and ultimately perceived by Idaho-4 as being “more gross and evil than any Baron Harkonnen ever dreamed of being” (4:339/333)—Leto II first “interviews” Idaho-4 “in a darkened room” (4:86/91-92), hidden in “shadows among shadows and blackness where not even the source of the voice could be fixed” (4:87/92).
Since Idaho-5 has been raised exclusively within the Bene Gesserit’s Gammu Keep, it is the world outside the Keep which is the unknown world in Heretics of Dune. Thus, the blunder that thrusts this hero into the unknown world is Reverend Mother Schwangyu’s complicity in the failed Tleilaxu raid on the Keep, which forces Idaho-5, with Miles Teg and Reverend Mother Lucilla, to flee into the forests of Gammu. And the “old and wizened” (5:1/10) Schwangyu is this novel’s herald character. Similarly, the unknown world in Chapterhouse: Dune is the no-ship grounded on Chapterhouse—in which Idaho-5 is imprisoned and in relation to which he now serves as herald to the Teg clone as monomythic hero.
After receiving the call to adventure, the hero acquires supernatural aid from a figure who may personify his destiny. This figure might be a protective old man or crone who provides a talisman or amulet in a setting suggesting a womb-like sense of peace; or it might be a guide, teacher, wizard, ferryman, hermit, or smith who offers aid in a context suggesting danger or temptation (Campbell 69-73). Campbell points out that today the role of “the doctor...is precisely that of the Wise Old Man of the myths and fairy tales” (9). And in Dune, ironically, it is Doctor Yueh, Paul’s “teacher” (1:4/4), whose treachery propels Paul towards his destiny and who also provides Paul with talismans and aid in contexts that suggest both the safety of the womb and mortal danger. Yueh impulsively gives his dead wife’s miniature Orange Catholic Bible to Paul while they are secure in Castle Caladan (1:39/39), the ancestral Atreides home. He also hides Leto’s Ducal signet ring and a fremkit where Paul will find them in the ornithopter that is meant to take him and his mother to their deaths. This enables Paul and Jessica to survive the desert. But Paul has at least as many “supernatural” helpers as his adventure in the unknown world has heralds. These other “companion-teachers” (1:28/27)—Mentat-Assassin Thufir Hawat, Jessica, Idaho, Weapons-Master Gurney Halleck, and Duke Leto—all offer aid solely in the context of the dangers awaiting them on Arrakis. Paul, who, as the Preacher, is both hermit and wizard in Children of Dune, leaves to his son, Leto II, “that most powerful of all mystic talismans: the divine authenticity of Muad’Dib’s religious bequest” (3:2/10). Paul is specifically Leto’s guide along his “Golden Path,” his destiny, as the “Golden Path” is the content of Paul’s “last vision,” which is revealed to Leto when he seeks his father’s “help” by temporarily allowing Paul’s persona to occupy his body (3:72/77).
Edric—who, as a Guild Navigator, is a type of ferryman—brings Idaho-2 to Paul’s court in Dune Messiah. Idaho-2’s Tleilaxu eyes are actually a talisman intended to remind Paul of the ghola’s origins. The Tleilaxu also provide Idaho-2 with a guide, Bijaz the dwarf, an older “brother...from the same tank” (2:229/180) whose task it is to implant in Idaho-2 a subliminal suggestion that will be the catalyst which triggers the awakening of the ghola’s original Idaho persona (2:231/182). Leto II—who sees himself in God Emperor of Dune as all of humanity’s teacher (4:164/167, 4:214/214), and who also fills the role of hermit—displays to Idaho-4 “the crysknife of Muad’Dib...the talisman of our lives” (4:208/209) during the ghola’s initiation into Leto’s female Fish Speaker army’s Feast of Siaynoq. Idaho-4’s other “supernatural” helpers are Leto’s loyal agent Nayla and his major-domo Moneo, who serve as Idaho-4’s guides to the world of the Citadel. The twelfth ghola to be used in the Bene Gesserit’s “dangerous project” (5:8/16)—as the previous eleven had all been murdered—Idaho-5, like Paul, is provided with numerous teachers in a context of impending danger. These include Schwangyu; the Reverend Mothers Geasa, Tamalane, and Lucilla; and Miles Teg, who is told that “desperate attempts will be made to kill or capture our ghola” (5:110/117), and who reawakens Idaho-5’s original persona in the ancient Harkonnen no-globe, a secure womb “cut out of Time” (5:224/234). Similarly, Idaho-5 and Sheeana act as “supernatural” helpers in conspiring to awaken the Teg clone’s original persona in the equally womb-like no-ship of Chapterhouse: Dune.
After receiving supernatural aid the hero crosses the first threshold to the unknown world, which leads to a sphere of rebirth and may be defended by a protective guardian or a destructive watchman (Campbell 77-89). Campbell notes that the desert, which “folk mythologies populate with deceitful and dangerous presences,” is one of the archetypal “regions of the unknown” (78-79). And the deep desert of Arrakis is the unknown world to Paul and Leto II in Dune and Children of Dune, while the desert planet itself is the unknown world to Idaho-2 and Idaho-4 in Dune Messiah and God Emperor of Dune. The desert is a sphere of rebirth for Paul in several ways. As Yueh had planned (1:161/158, 1:166/163), both their enemies and allies alike presume that Paul and Jessica have died in the desert, killed by the sandstorm through which they actually make their escape (1:234/230, 1:257/252, 1:259/255); and while Jessica “feels reborn” on emerging unscathed from the storm, Paul’s newfound “sense of the future” gives him “the look...of someone forced to the knowledge of his own mortality” (1:197/193-94). This symbolic death is followed almost immediately by his foreseeing that the Fremen will rename him Muad’Dib (1:199/196), a symbolic rebirth. Paul and Jessica encounter both destructive watchmen and protective guardians in crossing the threshold to the unknown world. The destructive watchmen are the two Harkonnen guards ordered to take them to die in the desert; Jessica sees other guards following them, “the ones the Baron set to watch this pair” and the “watchers for the watchers” that she assumes also exist (1:169/166). The protective guardians include Idaho, who is killed while defending Paul in an underground Ecological Testing Station; Kynes, who temporarily shelters Paul and Jessica in the station and then shields them after Idaho is killed; and Stilgar, who finds them in the desert and who has been ordered by Kynes to “protect” and “save” Paul (1:276/271).
The threshold to the unknown crossed by Leto II, with Ghanima, in Children of Dune is Sietch Tabr’s qanat, the water-barrier that separates Stilgar’s sietch from the desert proper (3:166-67/173-74); and the desert is a sphere of death and rebirth for Leto in much the same way as it is for Paul. After the twins kill the tigers, Ghanima returns to Sietch Tabr under the influence of a self-induced hypnotic compulsion to report that Leto has been slain—thereby convincing everyone (including herself) that he is dead. This forestalls any pursuit while Leto sets off for legendary Jacurutu, “a perfect place for the dead to hide—among...the dead of another age” (3:213/219). However, Leto is reborn as the “Desert Demon” (3:364/366) once he sacrifices his humanity in merging with the sandtrout. Stilgar, the official “guardian of the orphaned twins” (3:2/10), is the protective guardian of the threshold to the unknown world. The threshold’s destructive watchmen are Palimbasha—a Fremen traitor employed by House Corrino whom Ghanima kills after she discovers him standing in a “hidden entrance” to the sietch with “the transmitter which had released the Tigers” attached to his belt—and his “watching” accomplices (3:198/204-5).
It is Paul’s imperial court in Arrakeen—the only place on Arrakis that is not “unknown” in Dune—that is the unknown world for Idaho-2 in Dune Messiah. The protective guardian at Paul’s court is again Stilgar, who—in yet another inversion of the monomyth—seeks to protect the court from the ghola, rather than to protect the monomythic hero from the unknown world. Idaho-2’s complete rebirth does not occur until his original persona is reawakened at the novel’s climax and “He knew himself as Duncan Idaho” (2:259/204). In a similar inversion in God Emperor of Dune, Idaho-4 is examined by Nayla, the watchman who seeks to protect the Citadel from the new ghola. The D-wolves who attack Siona and kill her companions as she flees the Citadel at the novel’s beginning are its destructive watchmen.
Literally a sphere, the Harkonnen no-globe hidden in the forests of Gammu is most specifically the unknown world that is a sphere of rebirth for Idaho-5 in Heretics of Dune, as it is here that he regains his original persona (5:234/243). Idaho-5 enters the no-globe “through a shallow cave musky with the odors of a native bear,” and its “portal...was decorated with Harkonnen griffins” (5:221/230). Both the absent bear and the decorative griffins represent this unknown world’s ineffectual watchmen. Similarly, the unknown world that is the Teg clone’s sphere of rebirth in Chapterhouse: Dune is, most specifically, the no-ship in which he regains his original persona. In an inversion similar to those involving Stilgar in Dune Messiah and Nayla in God Emperor of Dune, the “comeyes built into the glittering surface of a doorway” (6:70/80) to the no-ship are the guardians of that threshold that keep a constant watch on both Idaho-5 and the Teg clone, in order to protect the Bene Gesserit from any threat they might pose. And the “watchers” (6:291/311) who observe as Sheeana restores the clone’s persona include potentially destructive watchmen, as three of them are Bene Gesserit Proctors “prepared to kill” (6:296/316) the clone should he exhibit any sign that he may be another Kwisatz Haderach.
The final incident in the departure stage of the hero’s adventure is his journey to the World Womb or World Navel—being “swallowed” in “the belly of the whale.” At this stage, “the hero goes inward, to be born again” (Campbell 90-91). This is often either a literal or a symbolic underground journey that is visually or allusively presented as a descent into hades, and memento mori in the form of bones or skeletons are sometimes in evidence. The hero may actually or symbolically be mutilated, dismembered, or killed; or he might merely enter a temple or similar structure that is guarded by gargoyles (92). Each of the Idaho gholas and the Teg clone, of course, must “go inward, to be born again” in that each must be brought to a point of internal crisis that will reawaken the original persona. For this reason, the journey to the World Womb is implicit in each of their stories, even if the moment of reawakening is not depicted in the narrative (as in Idaho-4’s case). Of particular interest in connection with the remaining monomythic heroes, Paul and Leto II, is Campbell’s assertion that “the hero as the incarnation of God is himself the navel of the world, the umbilical point through which the energies of eternity break into time” (41). Both Paul and Leto II are worshipped as gods, and the Bene Gesserit ultimately conclude that, rather than merely predicting the future, each of these heroes helped to create its specific shape with their prescient powers.
Arrakis generally, and most specifically its desert—the unknown world of the first four Dune novels—is repeatedly compared to hell in Dune (1:44-45/44, 1:124/122, 1:196/193, 1:209/205, 1:263/259, 1:284/279), and Gammu is referred to as a “hell hole” several times in Heretics of Dune (5:235/244). The giant worms, which literally threaten to “swallow” Paul and Jessica in the open desert, also reinforce this reading of the Arrakeen desert as hell; for the Biblical Satan is cast down into hades in the form of a serpent. In fact—like Satan, only more literally, and constituting another interesting inversion—the worms carry their hell within them; due to their peculiar metabolic chemistry, the interior of each of these creatures is a raging furnace, a “cave of mysterious fire” in which an observer can see “reflections of lambent orange flames within” (5:249/258). And the worms are successfully relocated to the planet Chapterhouse in Chapterhouse: Dune.
In a series of literal underground journeys, Paul and Jessica are buried alive by the sandstorm in their first night in a stilltent in the open desert (1:203/199); are subsequently taken “down rock steps into darkness” to an underground desert “cave chamber,” the Ecological Testing Station in which Idaho is killed defending them (1:220/215-16). They find temporary sanctuary from the desert worms in the subterranean “Cave of the Ridges” to which Stilgar leads them (1:288/282); and finally find a permanent desert home in Sietch Tabr, a larger series of underground caverns (1:340/334). It is after surviving his knife fight with Stilgar’s tribesman Jamis in the Cave of the Ridges that Paul receives his Fremen “troop name...Usul” from Stilgar and then chooses “Paul-Muad’Dib” as his public Fremen “name of manhood,” a dual rechristening that signifies his rebirth into membership in Stilgar’s tribe (1:306-7/301-2). Yet Paul’s most crucial death and rebirth experience occurs later, when he drinks the Water of Life in the desert’s Cave of Birds and “lay as one dead” for three weeks before reviving (1:437/431).
In an initial inversion of an underground journey, Leto II emerges from Sietch Tabr, an underworld, into the open desert to fake his death at the claws of the Laza tigers in Children of Dune. However, he only avoids being slain by the tigers through going underground again, diving several meters into a “narrow cut in the rocks...until darkness enfolded him” (3:183/190). Like Paul, he also spends a night beneath the sand in a stilltent after killing the tigers (3:214/220). His destination—Jacurutu, “the perfect place for the dead to hide” (3:213/219), to which he travels on the back of a worm—is yet another underground sietch, one in which he is first bludgeoned unconscious and then repeatedly threatened with death before being quizzed by Assan Tariq’s father Namri, who “saw himself as Mirzabah, the Iron Hammer with which the dead are beaten who cannot reply satisfactorily to the questions they must answer before entry into paradise” (3:247/253). Moreover, Jacurutu is guarded by a type of gargoyle, “a sinuous rock outcropping” that “lay like an immense worm atop the sand, flat and threatening” (3:234/240). After escaping from Jacurutu, Leto again buries himself alive in a stilltent beneath the sand, this time to escape a “great” sandstorm; and, too deep beneath the surface to get air, he “sent himself into a dormancy trance where his lungs would move only once an hour” (3:302/306). This death-like state is similar to the trance in which Paul lay for three weeks after drinking the Waters of Life. Already symbolically killed, “dead to her” as a consequence of the hypnotic compulsion Ghanima employs to convince herself that he has been slain by the tigers, Leto is also mutilated in the desert when he allows the sandtrout to infiltrate his skin: “He was no longer human. Cilia had crept into his flesh, forming a new creature” (3:338-39/340-41).
Idaho-4 undergoes several underground journeys that are clearly symbolic descents into hell in God Emperor of Dune. The ghola’s many interviews with Leto II occur in Leto’s underground “crypt, that dank and shadowy place which Leto seemed to find so attractive but which Idaho found so repellent—the dust of centuries there and the odors of ancient decay” (4:209/209). Leto’s “crypt” is a literal “mausoleum,” and even as such its sepulchral contents constitute a particularly pointed memento mori for the ghola, as it is “mostly the Duncans,” his many predecessors in Leto’s service, who are interred there (4:37/45).
The no-globe to which Idaho-5 initially flees is hidden underground, inside a “cave,” and the “Harkonnen griffins” decorating its “access tube” serve as guardian gargoyles (5:221/230). As much a mausoleum as Leto’s “crypt,” the no-globe contains memento mori in the form of “twenty-one skeletons preserved in transparent plaz along a wall...the artisans who had built the place were all slain by the Harkonnens to preserve the secret” (5:224/233-34). And while Teg reawakens Idaho-5’s original persona within the no-globe, through a process that might be considered a symbolic dismemberment in that it creates “mental and physical agony in an almost helpless victim” (5:233/242), the Bene Gesserit pretend that Teg, Lucilla, and the ghola are dead. They stage a “dramatic and believable” show of “mourning” as a diversion while attempting to find and rescue the missing trio (5:270/280). After exiting the no-globe, Idaho-5 descends with Reverend Mother Lucilla into “the stygian outlet of the tunnel” (5:325/334) that leads to Bene-Gesserit Bashar Burzmali’s command center set up within a live tree. But they soon find a more secure subterranean haven in a “room apparently cut into rock” (5:327/336) within a “cave complex.” Here the ghola is led through the darkness by a “cord” clipped to his belt, which the context suggests is a metaphorical umbilical cord, and he is symbolically reborn when he puts on the disguise of a Tleilaxu Master (5:372/381). Similarly, the Teg clone’s original persona is reawakened in a metaphorical underground location. This is Idaho-5’s “no-ship prison,” which is “a cave of wonders” (6:70/80; see also 6:73/83); and the specific room in which the clone’s persona is restored reminds Reverend Mother Superior Odrade of “an animal’s cave” (6:288/308).
6. The Initiation Stage. The first incident in the monomyth’s initiation stage is the road of trials, a series of tests in which the hero is aided by the supernatural helpers’ advice or agents, by the talismans given him, or by a benign power that protects him everywhere. It may also entail the hero’s assimilation of his opposite, which may be his own unsuspected self or shadow (Campbell 97, 108). Paul’s two most critical trials, among many others, are both explicitly initiation rituals. The first is the Fremen “rite to initiate a sandrider” (1:388/382)—“the deadly test” of mounting and riding a sandworm (1:386/380); the other is “the test that the Reverend Mothers have survived” (1:437/431), transmuting the poisonous Water of Life. Paul assimilates his opposite—who is also his unsuspected self, his shadow—in his final trial in Dune, his duel with his cousin Feyd-Rautha, who is meticulously developed as Paul’s shadow throughout the novel.
Early in Children of Dune, Leto II predicts that he and his sister will “be tested...in the spice...in the desert and in the Trial of Possession” (3:80-81/86); and Jessica believes that “Leto had to be tested” (3:205/211) to make certain he is not possessed by one of the persona inhabiting his “other memories.” Following the ordeal with the Laza tigers, the spice ordeal that is a test for possession at Jacurutu, and his surviving a “great storm” (3:302/306) in the desert afterwards, Leto’s final test is that of accepting the Golden Path—“this trial he and Ghanima had chosen” (3:237/243)—and thus submitting to the loss of his humanity that results from merging with the sandtrout. Leto must then assimilate his opposite twice—in his final confrontations with both his shadow, his aunt Alia, and his double, his cousin Farad’n.
Idaho-2’s critical trial in Dune Messiah is to overcome the Tleilaxu compulsion to kill Paul once it is triggered, and his success entails the re-awakening of his original persona. Ironically, his “supernatural” helpers are the Tleilaxu themselves, who only implant the compulsion as a mechanism for reviving his persona; and their agent is Bijaz the dwarf, who activates the compulsion at the appropriate time. Idaho-2’s unsuspected self is not only his original persona—which he literally assimilates by integrating it into his ghola personality after it is reawakened, so that “he knew himself as Duncan Idaho” (2:259/204)—but is also Bijaz, his shadow in that they “are like brothers” who “grew in the same tank” (2:229/180). The ghola is the dwarf’s “target” and “the instrument [he] was taught to play” (2:228-29/179-80), and Idaho-2 finally kills Bijaz at Paul’s command. The remaining Idaho gholas and the Teg clone each endure a similar trial that results in the assimilation of his unsuspected self; each likewise experiences a trauma which reawakens his original persona, integrating it into his personality.
During the adventure’s initiation stage the hero might encounter a goddess, a temptress, or both. The goddess may be “the Lady of the House of Sleep” and might also represent the “good mother” who is bliss, perfection, and the combination of all opposites; her meeting with the hero sometimes culminates in a mystical marriage at a mystical location. However, the goddess might also represent the “bad mother” who may be absent, unattainable, forbidding, punishing, or the locus of forbidden desire, and who may threaten castration (Campbell 109-10, 113-14, 120-25, 111).
Three women in Dune represent various aspects of the goddess. Chani, who appears repeatedly to Paul in his earliest prescient dreams (1:25/24-25; see also 1:285/280), is the “Lady of the House of Sleep.” Jessica is the “good mother” who combines all opposites. The Reverend Mother Mohiam, “the Emperor’s Truthsayer” (1:457/451), is the punishing “bad mother,” for the test involving the gom jabbar and nerve-induction box she administers to Paul on Caladan is a symbolic castration. Paul also encounters a temptress—although the temp-tation is a mild one—in Harah, Jamis’ widow, whom he must accept for one year as either wife or servant (1:343/337).
Sabiha, Namri’s daughter, is both “the Lady of the House of Sleep” and the temptress in Children of Dune. She guards Leto II while he endures the spice ordeal at Jacurutu, and his visions of the two of them “entwined in love” (3:281/287, 3:291-2/296-97, 3:324/327) tempt him away from pursuing the Golden Path whose necessary metamorphosis dictates celibacy. Jessica assumes the aspect of the “bad mother” in Children of Dune. Much like Mohiam vis-à-vis Paul, she arrives on Arrakis after a decade’s absence prepared to kill Leto II and Ghanima with a “poisoned needle...the gom jabbar” (3:99/104; see also 3:276/281) if they prove to be possessed; and she tests Leto for possession by ordering Gurney Halleck to see that he undergoes “the spice trip” (3:276/281). Others who reveal the aspect of the “bad mother” in this novel are Alia and Princess Wensicia, Farad’n’s mother, who plot independently to murder the twins.
The Fremen view Alia as a “demi-goddess,” a “goddess,” and “the womb of heaven” in Dune Messiah (2:91/75, 2:109/89, 2:209/163), in which she assumes aspects of both the “Lady of the House of Sleep” and the terrifying “good mother” who combines all opposites. “The Irulan Report” on “St. Alia of the Knife” notes that “she represents ultimate tension” (2:91/75), and Bijaz expands on this report in telling Idaho-2 that “She is the virgin-harlot.... She is vulgar, witty, knowledgeable to a depth that terrifies, cruel when she is most kind, unthinking when she thinks, and when she seeks to build she is as destructive as a coriolis storm” (2:227/178).
Siona is the goddess to Idaho-4, although both rebel throughout God Emperor of Dune against Leto II’s plan to mate them. Ironically, Hwi Noree is the temptress who is forbidden to Idaho-4 because she is Leto’s fiancee (4:166/169, 4:228/228); yet Hwi and the ghola fall in love and yield to their mutual temptation during one single night of passion in the Citadel (4:300/297-98). Reverend Mother Lucilla, a professional seductress who has been ordered to sexually imprint Idaho-5, is the temptress to the final ghola as hero in Heretics of Dune, but Idaho-5 successfully resists her after Teg restores his original persona (5:279/288, 5:283/292-93). Reverend Mother Schwangyu, the Gammu Keep’s commander who plots to have Idaho-5 killed, is a “bad mother”—as is Murbella, the Honored Matre whose plan to enslave the ghola with Honored-Matre sexual amplification techniques goes awry when Idaho-5’s secret Tleilaxu conditioning compels him to use those same techniques on her simultaneously. However, their consequent mutual bonding ultimately makes Murbella Idaho-5’s “goddess.” Now a reverend mother, the Dune waif Sheeana is the temptress who seduces the barely pubescent Teg clone in a successful attempt to restore his original persona more humanely in Chapterhouse: Dune (6:290/310-11). Ironically, the clone perceives her as a “bad mother” at that moment, for he has been strongly conditioned to resist sexual imprinting and mistakes her actions as an attempt to imprint him (6:291/311). But the true “bad mothers” in this novel are the Great Honored Matres Dama and Logno. In another irony, Reverend Mother Superior Odrade, Teg’s daughter, is the “good mother” who combines all opposites to the Teg clone as hero.
Another episode in the adventure’s initiation stage is an atonement with the father or father-figure, who is “the initiating priest through whom the young being passes on into the larger world” (Campbell 136). But this “requires an abandonment of the attachment to ego itself” (130). Also, the “initiation rites” that represent atonement with the father may contain both “a dramatized expression of the Oedipal aggression of the older generation; and the...patricidal impulse of the younger” (139); “there is a new element of rivalry in the picture: the son against the father for mastery of the universe” (136). The father can be and often appears to be a tyrant or ogre, and the son cannot achieve atonement until he sees beyond this manifestation of the father. The hero “must have faith that the father is merciful, and then a reliance on that mercy. Therewith...the dreadful ogres dissolve,” and when the hero “beholds the face of the father [and] understands...the two are atoned” (130, 137, 147).
Paul vows to avenge his father by overcoming the tyrant-ogre father-figures personified in the Baron Harkonnen (his maternal grandfather) and the Emperor. As Emperor, Paul is himself a father-figure to the Idaho-2, and is “the initiating priest” through whom the hero “passes into the world” in that he is the catalyst used by the Tleilaxu to reawaken the ghola’s original persona. Idaho-2 is conditioned to murder Paul when he speaks the words “She is gone” on learning of Chani’s death, but the resulting conflict between this compulsion and the submerged Idaho persona’s loyalty to the Atreides forces that original persona to emerge. This staged psychic drama, which compels the Idaho-ego to supplant the ghola-ego, wonderfully combines the concept that atonement with the father “requires an abandonment of the attachment to ego itself” with the notion that it also may contain “a dramatized expression of the...patricidal impulse.”
Paul is also “the initiating priest” through whom Leto II “passes into the world” in two quite different ways. First, Paul protects Leto from being assassinated only moments after his birth by killing the Tleilaxu conspirator Scytale at the conclusion of Dune Messiah. And in Children of Dune the Paul persona within Leto promises, “I will protect you in the trance. The others within will not take you” (3:255/261) when Leto undergoes the spice ordeal at Jacurutu, the initiation ritual in which he must abandon his attachment to the ego in order to establish a harmony with his “other memories,” any one of which might otherwise possess him. Thus, Leto “let go of himself and became himself, his own person compassing the entirety of his past” (3:279/285). After escaping Jacurutu and merging with the sandtrout, Leto finds Paul in the desert and “beholds the face of the father,” “seeing the lines of likeness as though they had been outlined in light. The lines formed an indefinable reconciliation” (3:341/343). Then Leto forces Paul into a “battle of the visions” (3:343/345) from which he knows “only one vision will emerge” (3:334/337). This is an atonement which is also a contest “for mastery of the universe,” for when Leto’s vision prevails, Paul acknowledges, “This is your universe now” (3:346/349) and agrees to “do his bidding” (3:372/375).
Much as Paul as Emperor is a benign father-figure to Idaho-2 in Dune Messiah, so too in God Emperor of Dune is Leto II as Tyrant an ogre father-figure to Idaho-4. Leto is “the initiating priest” through whom Idaho-4 passes into the world in that he is recreated solely for Leto’s service. And the ghola’s conflict with Leto is “Oedipal” as well as “patricidal,” for Idaho-4’s primary and proximate emotional motivation in killing Leto is to prevent him from marrying Hwi Noree. But this is also a contest for mastery of the universe, dominion that must be wrested from Leto through his death so that it can revert back to humanity. Leto, as tyrant-ogre, literally “dissolves” when he is plunged into the Idaho River. And atonement is achieved when he then tells the ghola, “I think of all my Duncans I approve of you the most” (4:419/407). Much as Paul, as the catalyst who reawakens Idaho-2’s original persona, is “the initiating priest” through whom Idaho-2 “passes into the world,” so too is Teg, already a father-figure to Idaho-5, the “initiating priest” through whom Idaho-5 regains his original persona in Heretics of Dune (5:226-34/235-43). Reciprocally, Idaho-5 is the “initiating priest” to the Teg clone in that the more humane method used to awaken the Teg persona had been his “idea” (6:293/314). And the atonement of resurrected “son” and father-figure as “initiating priest” in both Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune occurs when the “son” in each instance forgives the father-figure for the pain involved in the reawakening process.
The penultimate incident in the adventure’s initiation stage is the hero’s apotheosis. This may be symbolized by an annihilation of consciousness that entails the merging of time and eternity, and is characterized by a symbolic transcendence of duality—representing a return to the lost unity that preceded creation—signaled by the joining of such opposites as time and eternity, good and evil, male and female, birth and death, truth and illusion, or friend and enemy. Paul’s apotheosis occurs when he finally transmutes the Water of Life and enters the plane of apotheosis for the three-week period in which he lies in a deathlike trance, his consciousness annihilated, while exploring his visions. His prescience itself is essentially a conflation of time and eternity, but in transmuting the Water of Life he also unites within himself the male/female polarity in becoming a male Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother.
Leto II experiences a similar apotheosis when he undergoes the spice ordeal at Jacurutu, and he literally transcends his humanity soon afterwards by merging with the sandtrout—a metamorphosis that makes him “a living god” (3:400/401) to his Fremen followers, but is also a symbiosis of man and beast. As the ruthless Tyrant who must deprive humanity of freedom for over three millennia to insure its salvation, he also fuses the polarities of good and evil, cruelty and kindness, friend and enemy. And as the suggestively phallic “Worm” who has lost his male reproductive organs through his gradual metamorphosis, but who can nourish Siona in the desert by having her “tease...moisture heavily laced with spice-essence” from the sandtrout “flaps” near his face while she lies in the marsupial-like pouch he forms with his front segment (4:347/341), he is “the image of the bisexual god” of myth (Campbell 162). As such, he is also “that father” who is “the womb, the mother, of a second birth...so that death was not the end” (Campbell 162 passim) in that his death by immersion in water is also the rebirth of the sandworms.
All the Idaho gholas, as well as the Teg clone, experience apotheoses in the annihilation of consciousness entailed in the reawakening of their original personas. Idaho-5 experiences a second and greater apotheosis when the reawakening of all his past ghola selves is subsequently triggered by Murbella. And both Idaho-5 and the Teg clone symbolically “shatter...the bounds of the last threshold,” and thus emulate the archetypal final apotheosis of the Buddha (Campbell 150), in escaping from their universe into another, unknown, “unidentifiable universe” (6:427/454) at the conclusion of the Dune series.
The final incident in the adventure’s initiation stage is the attainment of the ultimate boon, which represents “the means for the regeneration of [the hero’s] society as a whole” (Campbell 38). The ultimate boon in its highest form is transcendent illumination or revelation; but the questing hero usually seeks such lesser gifts as immortality or extended life, power, or wealth (189). The transcendent illumination that is the ultimate revelation bestowed by their prescient visions at the moment of apotheosis is the greatest boon acquired by both Paul and Leto II. And in both instances this boon represents the regeneration of their societies: Paul uses his prescience to free the Fremen from Harkonnen “bondage” (1:451/445) and Leto uses his to ensure the survival of humanity as a whole through the establishment of his Golden Path, which leads to humankind’s regeneration in the Scattering. Paul’s and Leto’s boons also entail the acquisition of supreme power and wealth, and Leto’s metamorphosis greatly extends his life span. The Idaho gholas, as well as the Teg clone, achieve a more limited revelation in the apotheoses that restore their original personae, even though Idaho-5’s second apotheosis also leads to a series of further revelations. But this psychic rebirth that completes the resurrection of their bodies begun in the axlotl tanks is also a form of serial “immortality” (6:80/90). And, in dying, Leto II bestows the lesser boons of power and wealth on Idaho-4 by predicting that Leto’s Fish Speaker army will choose him as their leader and by revealing to him the location of the vast spice hoard at Sietch Tabr (4:417-18/406).
7. The Return Stage. Several possible events may occur in the adventure’s return stage. One of these, for example, is that the hero may take back to the known world a talisman of his quest; or, after returning to the known world, he might also become “the master of the two worlds,” which can entail acquiring the ability to pass freely between the known and unknown worlds. Alternatively, he might achieve the “freedom to live” in the known world as a conscious vehicle of the cosmic cycle of change (Campbell 193-243). Leto II brings back Paul, in the guise of the Preacher, as a talisman from the unknown world in Children of Dune. Likewise, Paul, the Idaho gholas, and the Teg clone each acquires a human talisman, in each case his “goddess,” in the unknown world. Paul returns from the desert with Chani in Dune. Idaho-2 falls in love with Alia in Paul’s court in Dune Messiah. Idaho-4 leaves Leto’s Citadel for Tuono with Siona in God Emperor of Dune. Idaho-5 leaves Gammu with Murbella in Heretics of Dune. And the Teg clone, with Idaho-5, escapes from the known universe in the company of Sheeana, whom he first meets on Chapterhouse, in Chapterhouse: Dune.
Also, each monomythic hero in the Dune Chronicles becomes conscious that he is the vehicle of the cosmic cycle of change. Leto II, who calls “himself the first truly long-range planner in human history” (3:396/398), vows “to create a new consciousness in all men” (3:406/408) as he anticipates a possible four-thousand-year reign as Emperor. And Paul tells Chani, “I live in the cycle of being where the war of good and evil has its arena. We are at a turning point in the succession of ages and we have our parts to play” (2:205/162). Idaho-2, who immediately echoes Paul’s last words in Dune Messiah, “Now I am free” (2:272/215), had achieves his “freedom to live” in acquiring his original persona. Idaho-4 becomes the “master of the two worlds” with Leto’s death, which anticipates his assuming temporal power in the empire. He becomes a vehicle of cosmic change both through participating in Leto’s assassination and through becoming Siona’s mate, and thus becomes the father of the “new Atreides” who are invisible to prescience (4:420/408). And both Idaho-5 and the Teg clone gain the ability to pass freely between the known and unknown worlds only when they finally escape their Bene Gesserit captivity in the stolen no-ship; they then use that freedom to cross a new threshold to a greater unknown.
Herbert’s astonishing aesthetic achievement in mirroring the Dune series’ ecological chaos-theory theme in its recurring fractal structure through this recycling of the monomyth is beautifully compounded, not only in that mirroring is itself the essence of any fractal structure, but also in that the monomyth is a plot structure which, by definition, is already intrinsically fractal. As that single “consciously controlled” pattern most widely exhibited in the world’s folk tales, myths, and religious fables (Campbell 255-56), the monomyth’s defining trait is that it has already been reiterated countless times over thousands of years. Moreover, the intense revisiting of religion as a recurring theme, if not an obsession, in the Dune series also makes Herbert’s use of the monomyth as a structuring device especially resonant.
Yet “the great deed of the supreme hero is to come to the knowledge of [the] unity in multiplicity [the mystery of the manifest world] and then to make it known” (40). This is both Campbell’s achievement in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, in uncovering the unity of the world of myth, and the conceptual achievement of chaos-theory scientists, in discovering the unity-in-multiplicity of the phenomenal world—and this similarity suggests the existence of an even deeper connection between chaos theory and the monomyth than is implicit in this analysis of the Dune Chronicles. The mutations, inversions, and variations on the monomyth that occur as the Dune series progresses only underscore one of the central concepts common to both chaos theory and the Dune Chronicles—that everything changes. Yet, like chaos theory, the monomyth also indicates that even perpetual change itself occurs within the dynamics of a still larger pattern that governs transition on the borders of chaos and order. For the central death-and-resurrection motif that resonates throughout the monomyth, the experience of being “swallowed in the belly of the whale,” the hero’s “passing and returning demonstrate that through all the contraries of phenomenality the Uncreate-Imperishable remains” (93).
1. Frank Herbert, Heretics of Dune (5:v/none). In-text references for the six novels of the Dune series are, first, to the Berkley or Ace paperback editions (page numbers before the slash) and, second, to the Chilton or Putnam first editions (page numbers after the slash). The six volumes are 1) Dune (Berkley or Ace dated paperback, first issued circa 1970); 2) Dune Messiah (Berkley or Ace paperback, 1975 or later; Putnam, 1969); 3) Children of Dune (Berkley or Ace paperback, 1977 or later; Putnam, 1976); 4) God Emperor of Dune (Berkley or Ace paperback, 1983 or later; Putnam, 1981); 5) Heretics of Dune (Berkley or Ace paperback, 1986 or later; Putnam, 1984); 6) Chapterhouse: Dune (Berkley or Ace paperback, 1987 or later; Putnam, 1985).
2. A ghola is a potentially exact physical replica of a deceased individual which is grown in a Tleilaxu axlotl tank from cells taken from the cadaver (the resemblance to the original is not necessarily exact because a ghola can be altered through genetic manipulation or surgical procedures). A ghola differs from a clone only in that a clone is grown from cells taken from a living organism. Herbert’s gholas are thus always physical replicas of the dead, while a clone may be a replica of an individual who is still alive. While they are physical duplicates of their originals, neither gholas nor clones initially possess either the memories or the personalities of their originals; however, a ghola or clone can subsequently be induced to recover the original’s memories and persona.
Idaho-2 is the first Duncan Idaho ghola, created as a gift for Paul. He appears in Dune Messiah—in the role of the monomythic hero, although he is not the novel’s protagonist—and also in Children of Dune. Idaho-4 is the last Duncan Idaho ghola of the scores (if not hundreds) created for Leto II. He is the monomythic hero, but not the protagonist, of God Emperor of Dune, the only novel in which he appears. (An Idaho-3—the immediate predecessor to Idaho-4 in Leto II’s service, and thus Leto II’s penultimate Idaho ghola—also appears briefly in God Emperor of Dune). Idaho-5 is the final Duncan Idaho ghola and the last of a dozen Idaho gholas created for the Bene Gesserit. He appears in Heretics of Dune—in the role of the monomythic hero, but not the protagonist— and also in Chapterhouse: Dune.
Briggs, John, and Peat, F. David. Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness. NY: Harper and Row, 1989.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. 2nd ed. Bollingen Series XVIII. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1968.
Cirasa, Robert. “An Epic Impression: Suspense and Prophetic Conventions in the Classical Epics and Frank Herbert’s Dune,” Classical and Modern Literature 4 (Summer 1984): 195-213.
Collings, Michael R. “The Epic of Dune: Epic Traditions in Modern Science Fiction.” In Aspects of Fantasy: Selected Essays from the Second International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, ed. William Coyle. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981. 131-39.
DiTommaso, Lorenzo. “History and Historical Effect in Frank Herbert’s Dune,” SFS 19.3 (November 1992): 311-325.
Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. NY: Penguin, 1987.
Grigsby, John L. “Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy and Herbert’s Dune Trilogy: A Vision Reversed,” SFS 8.2 (July 1981): 149-155.
─────. “Herbert’s Reversal of Asimov’s Vision Reassessed: Foundation’s Edge and God Emperor of Dune,” SFS 11.2 (July 1984): 174-180.
Herbert, Frank. Chapterhouse: Dune. NY: Putnam, 1985. Rpt. Ace, 1987.
─────. Children of Dune. NY: Putnam, 1976. Rpt. Berkley, 1981.
─────. Dune. NY: Chilton, 1965. Rpt. Berkley, 1977; Ace, 1987.
─────. Dune Messiah. Nutnam, 1969. Rpt. Berkley, 1975.
─────. God Emperor of Dune. NY: Putnam, 1981. Rpt. Berkley, 1983; Ace, 1987.
─────. Heretics of Dune. NY: Putnam, 1984. Rpt. Berkley, 1986.
LaPlante, Phil. Fractal Mania. NY: Windcrest/McGraw Hill, 1994.
McLean, Susan. “A Question of Balance: Death and Immortality in Frank Herbert’s Series.” In Death and the Serpent: Immortality in Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Carl Yoke. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985. 145-52.
Palumbo, Donald. “‘Plots Within Plots ... Patterns Within Patterns’: Chaos-Theory Concepts and Structures in Frank Herbert’s Dune Novels,” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 8.1 (January 1997): 55-77.
─────. “Psychohistory and Chaos Theory: The ‘Foundation Trilogy’ and the Fractal Structure of Asimov’s Robot/Empire/Foundation Metaseries,” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 7.1 (January 1996): 23-50.
Riggs, Don. “Future and ‘Progress’ in Foundation and Dune.” In Spectrum of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Sixth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, ed. Donald Palumbo. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1988. 113-17.
Schmitt-v. Mühlenfels, Astrid. “The Theme of Ecology in Frank Herbert’s Dune Novels.” In The Role of Geography in a Post-Industrial Society, ed. Hans W. Windhorst. Vechta, 1987. 27-34.
Spinrad, Norman. “Emperor of Everything.” Science Fiction in the Real World. Carbondale & Edwardsville: Southern Illinois UP, 1990.
Frank Herbert’s dune series mirrors its explicit ecological theme through its dynamical-systems plot structure, which echoes the fractal geometry image’s definitive quality of self-similarity across the same scale. It does so, among other ways, through the incorporation of the Monomyth as a principal structuring device in each of its six novels. This repetition of the Monomyth is but one instance of the series’ fractal iteration of numerous ancillary parallel plot structures and themes, but is of unique importance because it subsumes within it the reiteration in each of these six novels of the many interrelated elements that comprise the Monomyth, as defined by Joseph Campbell in The Hero With a Thousand Faces. This article analyzes the recurrence of this archetypal plot structure in each volume of the dune series, giving special attention to the specific pattern of variations and inversions introduced by Herbert, to further demonstrate the series’ pervasive fractal structure. Herbert’s aesthetic achievement in mirroring the dune series’ ecological theme in its recurring fractal structure through this recyclying of the Monomyth is wonderfully compounded, not only in that mirroring is itself the essential characteristic of any fractal structure, but also in that the Monomyth, as the single consciously-controlled pattern most widely exhibited in the world’s folk tales, myths, and religious fables, is already intrinsically fractal by definition. (DP)
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