The epigraph from Princess Irulan’s text “Muad’Dib, Family Commentaries” muses on Duke Leto Atreides legacy. Although historically overshadowed by his son, the Duke is remembered as a leader devoted to his family and those who served him.
In this epigraph, readers are reminded of Duke Leto’s upstanding character. The narrator has already signaled that the Duke’s integrity attracts political jealousy, which will result in his death.
Duke Leto Atreides, Paul’s father, joins Paul and Dr. Yueh in the training room. Leto confirms that they leave for Arrakis tomorrow, and comments on the danger the Atreides household will face there. He acknowledges he is entering a Harkonnen trap, but believes the Atreides can survive it. The value of the planet’s spice is also too great to give up because it offers House Atreides leverage with the influential CHOAM. The Harkonnens have been stockpiling spice and will likely try to destroy Atreides’ mining ventures so that Duke Leto would be blamed for market shortages, while the Harkonnens would charge exorbitant prices for the valuable drug. Leto believes that Emperor Shaddam IV may be collaborating with the House Harkonnen.
The narrator reveals that Duke Leto is very aware of the risks he faces in moving to Arrakis. Much of this danger arises because House Atreides is gaining control of spice—as the Imperium’s most sought-after natural resource that offers life-prolonging and mind-altering abilities, spice is symbolic of the mythical philosopher’s stone. It also represents many real-world commodities that are central to global power plays; for example, addictive drugs such as cocaine and limited natural resources such as oil and water.
In subverting the Harkonnen’s plan, Duke Leto reveals that he hopes to win the Fremen as allies. He also reveals that Paul has been secretly trained as a Mentat since childhood. Paul wants to continue this training.
Once again, the narrator emphasizes Paul’s elite abilities as Dune’s protagonist and future hero. This time, the narrator reveals that Paul has been training to compute immense cognitive calculations that most people are incapable of undertaking.