About the Book

Book Protagonist: Paul Atreides, Alia Atreides, Jessica
Publication Date: 1965
Genre: Action and Adventure, Science Fiction

Quotes from


By Frank Herbert

'Dune' is a story with many quotes used by Frank Herbert to show the reader his predictions for what humanity, solely dependent on a commodity, looks like.

Frank Herbert’s vocabulary and the literary elements used in Dune heightens the novel’s complexity, as it becomes hard for the reader to keep track of the terminologies used.

Quotes from Dune


I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

As with every heroic story, the element of bravery persists even in the face of overwhelming fear and discouragement. The character Paul Atreides had to fight the fear that could have clouded his ideology for changing the universe, and only by showing courage was he able to fulfill his goals. Frank Herbert used the quote above to tell the reader that fear starts from the mind, and the only way to fight that fear is to face it head-on and overcome it.

Religion and Politics

When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.

Frank Herbert centered ‘Dune’ on politics and religion. In the story, politics played a crucial role in power dissemination across the universe. The quote above talks of Frank Herbert’s view concerning how religion and politics serve as a tool for domination. In the novel, Paul successfully leads a revolution against the throne because the Fremen saw him as a leader, backed by prophecy.

The Power of the Human Mind

The mind can go either direction under stress—toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.

Frank Herbert uses the quote above to explore the nature of how the human mind operates. Frank explains that when faced with a problem, the human mind becomes a tool for either positivity or negativity. In the novel, Paul could have made bad decisions that would have prevented him from succeeding in his plans to take down the Padishah empire, yet, he looked toward a future where he won. His positivity, coupled with his superpowers, made a crucial impact on his victory over his enemies.

The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.

Frank Herbert uses the quote above to show that the greatest enemy of humanity is humanity. The mind can be a powerful tool for success. However, Frank Herbert says that when there is doubt, then progress becomes limited.

The Danger of Greatness

Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.

The ideology of greatness is a concept that leads many people to live disastrous life, and Frank Herbert talks about why they want to be on top of the world is an illusion. Citing greatness as just a phase, Frank Herbert tries to tell the reader that though we value the idea of being great, greatness is nothing but a conceptualization of necessity for power.

The Future

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.

Frank Herbert tries to tell the reader that the machines humanity trust may be what leads to its end. ‘Dune’ talks about the distant future, when humanity almost gets destroyed by machines but manages to escape and become interplanetary. He passes a message through the quote above, saying that there is a chance that the future for humanity will be bleak, and the fault for such a future happening will be other humans using machines to cause harm.

The Value of A Leader

Grave this on your memory, lad: A world is supported by four things…’ she held up four big-knuckled fingers. ‘…the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave. But all of these things are as nothing…’ She closed her fingers into a fist. ‘…without a ruler who knows the art of ruling. Make that the science of your tradition!

The quote above explains that a leader makes the difference between success or failure and progress or hardship. Leaders are the spear that drives change. Frank Herbert explored the idea of what power a leader with the ability to attract people holds. Paul became a great leader for the Fremen, a group of people with little chance of conquering the injustice perpetrated on them.

The Struggle Never Ends

What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises—no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It’s not for fighting.

The quote above describes what it means to fight for what one wants. Paul thought that to fight, a person had to be interested and willing to. However, Gurney told him that the fighting never ends, the struggle never stops, and to be a winner, one has to fight every single step of the way, whether they like it or not.

Hope Does Not Solve a Problem

Hope clouds observation.

Hope is a powerful tool that can lead to a positive change, but in the story of ‘Dune,’ Frank Herbert describes why hope does not always lead to change. In Frank Herbert’s opinion, hope creates an illusion for one who decides to rest their entire belief on it, and this act leads to a lack of consideration for reality. Hope causes one to believe that anything is possible in a universe of limited possibilities.


It is so shocking to find out how many people do not believe that they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult.

The quote above talks about ignorance concerning learning. We believe specific areas of education to be difficult, but Frank Herbert speaks otherwise. In ‘Dune,’ He tells the reader that the only thing needed to learn anything is willpower.


What is the quote from Dune about fear?

“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”

What’s in the box quote Dune?

“What’s in the box?”
“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

What is the first line of Dune?

“In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.”

Is Dune a must-read?

Though ‘Dune’ was written in 1965, it remains relevant as a novel that addresses current world issues of ecology, politics, religion, and power.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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