The epigraph from Princess Irulan’s text “A Child’s History of Muad’Dib” is the short quote “‘Yueh! Yueh! Yueh!’ goes the refrain. ‘A million deaths were not enough for Yueh!’”
The “million deaths” wished on the treacherous Yueh suggest that in Dune’s world, violence breeds further violence. This violent cycle explains why there is so much political conflict and distrust between the Great Houses.
Searching for Paul, Lady Jessica finds Yueh in one of her son’s rooms with Paul asleep next door. Jessica and Yueh discuss the situation on Arrakis, particularly focused on the issue of the indigenous people’s reception to their new ruling family. They acknowledge that the population will likely resent the wealthy Atreides household and their new and valuable source of income, spice production. However, some of the population might also view the Atreides as fairer governors than the cruel Harkonnens who ruled previously. Jessica and Yueh also discuss the lack of water on Arrakis and the likely future Harkonnen attack on House Atreides.
Jessica and Yueh consider all political angles regarding the Atreides new governance on Arrakis. The pair’s ease in discussing the potentially dire situation speaks to the regular practice they have in analyzing political threats. They also discuss two of the most precious Arrakeen commodities—spice and water. Wars have been fought over these resources, and they’re certain new battles are fast approaching over spice control.
Throughout their conversation, Yueh feels great regret at the knowledge he will betray Jessica, Duke Leto, and Paul. He loves the Atreides family, but Baron Harkonnen has forced him into the role of traitor. Jessica learns that Yueh’s wife, Wanna, who is also Bene Gesserit, was taken and presumably killed by House Harkonnen. Yueh thinks “Wanna might not be dead. He had to be certain” and tries to hide his guilty plans from the mentally astute Jessica. Although Jessica becomes suspicious that Yueh is hiding something, she does not push him on it, deciding she should trust Atreides allies.
Jessica’s decision to try to be more trusting like her beloved Duke Leto results in disaster, as she doesn’t press Yueh and discover his impending betrayal. Her noble intentions ensures the Harkonnen’s violent attack is successful in capturing Duke Leto.