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This article is about the character in overview. For the character in the Dune film series, see Paul Atreides.

"He was warrior and mystic, ogre and saint, the fox and the innocent, chivalrous, truthless, less than a god, more than a man. There is no measuring Muad'Dib's motives by ordinary standards. In the moment of his triumph, he saw the death prepared for him, yet he accepted the treachery. Can you say he did this out of a sense of justice? Whose justice, then? Remember, we speak now of the Muad'Dib who ordered battle drums made from his enemies' skins, the Muad'Dib who denied the conventions of his ducal past with a wave of the hand, saying merely: "I am the Kwisatz Haderach. That is reason enough.""
Princess Irulan, from "Arrakis Awakening"[src]

Paul Atreides (10176 AG - 10219 AG), predominantly known as Muad'Dib, was the last Duke of the noble House Atreides. The only son of Duke Leto Atreides and Bene Gesserit Sister Lady Jessica, he rose to power among the native Fremen on Arrakis in their efforts against the brutal occupation of House Harkonnen. His natural clairvoyant abilities were greatly enhanced by the spice melange, and he used his mother's knowledge of Bene Gesserit propaganda to embody the role of Fremen prophet Lisan al-Gaib.

Their allied victory in the Desert War ousted Emperor Shaddam IV from the Golden Lion Throne, which became the seat of a new Atreides Empire. Paul ruled through twelve years of interstellar bloodshed and oppression before abdicating his throne and exiling himself into the deep desert after losing his eyes and his Fremen lover to the growing conspiracy against his reign.

Nine years later, Paul was succeeded by his surviving son, Leto Atreides II, God Emperor of the Known Universe.

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Paul Atreides is the first Kwisatz Haderach, the last Duke of House Atreides, the first and founding Padishah Emperor of the Atreides Empire, and the supreme religious leader of the Fremen.
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Paul Atreides' full name is Paul Atreides.
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Some of Paul Atreides' aliases are Muad'Dib, Usul, The Preacher, and The Mentat Emperor.
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Paul Atreides' political faction is the Atreides-Fremen alliance.
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Paul Atreides is loyal to House Atreides, the Fremen, and Sietch Tabr. He is the son of Leto Atreides I and Lady Jessica Atreides. He is married to Irulan Corrino, and with Chani Kynes he has two children named Leto Atreides II and Ghanima Atreides.
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Family lineage[]

House Atreides was an old and wealthy House Major in the Landsraad, tracing their lineage back thousands of years to King Agamemnon, a son of Atreus in Greece on Old Earth. The Atreides had a long-standing feud with House Harkonnen dating back ten thousand years to the Battle of Corrin. The family kept their ancestral world of Caladan a lush, prosperous paradise with relatively low industrial levels, in stark contrast to the Harkonnen capital of Giedi Prime. However, the Atreides were also proficient in war; they maintained Swordmasters, Warmasters and Mentats to train and lead their army, and had even developed their own Battle Language.

The Bene Gesserit Sisterhood brought Paul's parents, Duke Leto Atreides and Jessica Nerus, who was secretly the natural daughter of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, together in 10175 AG, with the intention of producing an Atreides daughter who could then mate with Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen to produce the Kwisatz Hadarach the Sisterhood had long prepared for. However, the Bene Gesserit plans were thrown into disarray when Jessica, due to her deep love of the Duke Leto, bore a male heir, Paul, to his House rather than a girl.

Early life (10176-10191)[]

Paul grew up with a privileged background on the water-rich planet of Caladan, the ancestral Atreides home. Though he lacked companions his own age, he received tutelage from his teachers, men like Thufir Hawat, Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck and Doctor Yueh, as well as deep education in Bene Gesserit methods and techniques from his mother. Shortly after his fifteenth birthday in the year 10191 AG, Paul's father revealed to him that his training, through his teachers, had been geared toward turning Paul into a mentat. The theory was that when Paul succeeded his father as Duke of House Atreides, one of the most respected and moral Great Houses of the Imperium, a mentat-duke would truly be a formidable force in the Landsraad. Paul's latent talents also earned him the attention of the Bene Gesserit, who tested him with the Gom Jabbar, as they hoped to salvage their breeding program through him.

Desert War (10191-10193)[]

Move to Arrakis[]

"On that first day when Muad'Dib rode through the streets of Arrakeen with his family, some of the people along the way recalled the legends and the prophecy and they ventured to shout: “Mahdi!” But their shout was more a question than a statement, for as yet they could only hope he was the one foretold as the Lisan al-Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World. Their attention was focused, too, on the mother, because they had heard she was a Bene Gesserit and it was obvious to them that she was like the other Lisan al-Gaib."
―from Manual of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan[src]

Paul accompanied his parents when House Atreides relocated to the desert world of Arrakis to manage mining operations of the spice melange. Before their departure, Gaius Helen Mohiam, Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother and the Emperor's Truthsayer, tested him with the gom jabbar. The test was to discover whether Paul was "truly human" by trial of pain, using a small box that Paul placed his hand inside. The pain inflicted on Paul was caused by nerve induction and clearly drained an incredible amount of energy from the Reverend Mother, since no male or female child had ever withstood that much physical pain before.

After a supposed assassination on Paul using a hunter-seeker, Dr Yueh lowered the defensive house shields and used sedative drugs to disable Leto, Paul, and Jessica, leaving the Atreides leaderless and disorganized under the Harkonnen and Sardaukar military onslaught in the Siege of Arrakeen. The Atreides army was crushed, with only a few remnants managing to escape. This attack marked the beginning of the War. Paul and Jessica were sent into the desert to die. Because of the use of truthsayers in the Empire, the Baron Harkonnen needed to be able to say truthfully that he was not (directly) responsible for their deaths. However, this plan was foiled by arrangements made by Yueh (he hated the Baron and wished to at least save Paul and Jessica) and Paul and Jessica managed to kill their captors and escape into the desert.

With Kynes and Idaho[]

Paul and Jessica initially met up with Planetologist Liet Kynes and Swordmaster Duncan Idaho, hiding in a botanical testing station abandonded long ago. However, they were not there long before the station was attacked by Sardaukar, who kill Duncan. Paul and Jessica fled to the deep desert in an ornithopter, parting ways with Dr Kynes. They let the Harkonnens think they had died from a coriolis storm.

Alliance with the Fremen[]

In the deep desert, under the pressure of extreme circumstances and the increased doses of Spice that he has been ingesting simply by living on Arrakis, some of Paul's powers came into fruition, and his ability to see possible futures exploded into awareness. He saw many things, a way out of his situation, and the restoration of the Atreides, if only he could make contact with the native Fremen and survive. After a dangerous crossing of the desert, Paul and Jessica managed to meet up with a troop of Fremen. Paul and Jessica proved their worth by disarming Fremen in unarmed combat, aided by Bene Gesserit prana-bindu training – the "Weirding Way" – and the Fremen leader Stilgar gladly accepted them into his troop because he would like to add that skill to the Fremen people. Paul also met a young woman, Chani, daughter of Liet Kynes, whom he had long seen in his dreams. During this scuffle, Paul disarmed a proud Fremen, Jamis, who took offence at this "presumptuous" youth, and challenged Paul to a fight to the death. Although at first unwilling to kill, he triumphed easily, making his name in the tribe, and also succeeding to the position of head of the household of the dead man. Stilgar gave Paul the name Usul – meaning "the strong base of a pillar" – as his private name within the troop; Paul gave himself the name "Paul Muad'dib" as his public Fremen name.

When they returned to the troop's sietch, they discovered the Fremen Reverend Mother was near death, and with the fortuitous arrival of Jessica, a Bene Gesserit, they made Jessica their Sayyadina. Jessica, not realizing the consequences of what the Fremen were about to do, accepted to cement her place in the tribe. Halfway through the process she realized she has made a mistake, that she was involved in a similar process to how the Bene Gesserit make their own Reverend Mothers who could see genetic memories, and realized that the baby in her womb, fathered by Leto before his death, would also go through the process. This had truly unfortunate consequences, because it was a Bene Gesserit teaching that any such baby would not have the strength to withstand the memories of its ancestors.

By 10193 AG, two years later, Paul had become something of a religious leader among the Fremen. Chani became his lover and bore him a son, whom he called Leto. He and his mother trained the Fremen of Sietch Tabr and other Fremen who sought out Paul in his religious guise, in the Weirding Way, the Bene Gesserit's prana-bindu fighting techniques. Under his leadership his "Fedaykin" experienced victory after victory against the Harkonnens, and Paul's prestige and aura among the Fremen grew. However, in order to be truly accepted by the Fremen he had to become a sandrider. Paul attempted it and succeeded, becoming a full member of the sietch.

The same day, a band of smugglers sought melange too deep in the desert, and the Fremen of Sietch Tabr sprung a trap. In the middle of the battle Paul recognised his weapons teacher, Gurney Halleck, and called on him and his men to surrender. Gurney was overjoyed and overwhelmed in equal measure. He surrendered his men, and joined Paul's service. Among Gurney's men, however, were some Imperial spies who attempted to kill Paul. They were unsuccessful, and they were captured by the Fedaykin. Paul gave secret orders for the spies to be allowed to escape, so that they would reveal that Paul Atreides still lived on Arrakis. Taking advantage of recruiting Gurney Halleck, Paul used the moment to solve his leadership problem. Since he had become a wormrider many of his followers had expected him to challenge Stilgar, his greatest friend among the Fremen, in order to take control of Sietch Tabr. But Paul broke tradition and in doing so forced Stilgar to do the same, managing to sidestep this issue by proclaiming himself the ruling Duke of Arrakis, and thus took power without killing his friend. They returned to Sietch Tabr. Gurney was shocked to discover Jessica is still alive, because he believed she was the one who betrayed the Atreides and that Paul did not know. Gurney was about to kill her when Paul walked in, managed to stop him, and explained that Yueh was the traitor. Gurney was almost broken by his nearly fatal and tragic error, but Jessica forgave him and he was bound even further into Atreides and Jessica's service.

Paul's power among the Fremen grew, but he was still frustrated. He was not all he could be: he could not control his journeys into the future, and much of it was still blank to him. So he took a truly risky step and consumed a tiny amount of spice essence, and so attempted to perform the male equivalent of the Reverend Mother ceremony. Previously to this no man had survived this experience, and it seemed that he failed also, because he sank into a coma. Paul neglected to tell anyone what he is doing; many people thought he is dead, although others, primarily the Fedaykin, believed he is in a religious trance. His mother, Jessica, did all she can to wake him but failed, so out of desperation she called Chani from the deep desert to help. Chani, through her more personal knowledge of Paul's dreams and desires, realised what a mad thing Paul has done, and used spice essence converted by Jessica using her powers as a Reverend Mother to bring him out of his trance. For Paul no time had passed, and he gloried in his new memories and powers — he told his mother and Chani immediately that the Emperor himself was currently orbiting the planet with many Sardaukar, ready to attack. He had proven the Bene Gesserit wrong: he was the Kwisatz Haderach, appearing one generation ahead of the prediction. He declared that it was now time to destroy the Harkonnens.

Fremen attacks on the Harkonnens had already managed to almost entirely stop the flow of the spice from Arrakis. This forced the Emperor to act, and he came to Arrakis with all his Sardaukar, and also levied of all the other noble houses, to annihilate the Fremen if necessary in order to get the spice flowing again. By now the Emperor was aware of who Muad'Dib was. In advance of his arrival, he sent a large Sardaukar force into the deep desert for information. Attacking a sietch, they managed to kill Paul's son, and capture Alia – Paul's sister – but were driven off by Fremen children, old people and women.

Battle of Arrakeen[]

After the Emperor himself had landed, Paul launched the final attack. Using the House Atriedes' family atomics (nuclear weapons) that his men managed to retrieve after the Harkonnen attack, he blew a hole in the Shield Wall that protected the capital of Arrakeen from the surrounding desert and its fierce storms. By using the weapons this way, he narrowly avoided contravening the universal ban against using atomics on people, which would have required the other noble houses to retaliate with "planetary annihilation." The Fremen attacked under cover of a huge desert storm, riding sandworms from the desert through the hole in the Shield Wall. The great static force of the sandstorm then shorted out all of the Sarduakar's defensive shields. The Sardaukar were unable to withstand the full force of the Fremen, caught as they were in total surprise, and the Emperor was forced to surrender. The combined forces of the Landsraad still loomed in orbit around the planet, but Paul threatened to destroy the Spice if any of them try to land, and they backed off. In the surprise of Muad'Dib's attack, Alia managed to escape, and in the process killed the Baron Harkonnen.

Realizing that Muad'dib was not some mad Fremen religious leader changed the situation dramatically for the Emperor. Feyd-Rautha, the Baron's nephew, an acclaimed gladiator, challenged Paul to single combat; claiming rights of kanly as had been declared by Paul's father Leto. Paul agreed even knowing that it is possible he would die, but after a difficult fight during which Feyd-Rautha attempted treachery in the form of a poisoned knife and needle, Paul eventually triumphed.

As Emperor (10196-10210)[]

Paul refused to take any more nonsense. He forced the Emperor from the throne by the simple expedience of taking power from the real rulers of the Empire – the Spacing Guild – who controlled space travel. He again threatened to destroy the spice if they did not ship all the troops home. The Spacing Guild had no choice – their limited powers of prophecy showed Paul is capable of it – and they sent everyone home. The Emperor abdicated and retired to Salusa Secundus in 10196 AG. Paul married the Emperor's eldest daughter, Irulan, and assumed control of the Empire. Irulan later wrote extensively on the subject of Muad'Dib, having nothing of him but knowledge of his lifestyle and patterns of thought. Paul then sent a Fremen jihad across the known universe.

Upon crowning himself Emperor in 10196, Paul enacted a strategy that had been revealed to him through his prescient abilities. This decision saw the theology (and many customs) of the Fremen thrust into the whole of the Empire. A result of this action was that Paul Atreides himself became a revered god-head on many worlds in the Known Universe. There was resistance, and Paul found himself increasingly isolated from his family and friends as he decided that the Jihad to implement his vision of mankind's future must be bloodthirsty and relentless. Whole planets were sterilized as some of the Great Houses put up a struggle against Paul's relentless Fremen armies.


After the bloody jihad ended, Emperor Paul-Muad'Dib Atreides eventually subdued all outright rebellion. The order of the Known Universe was maintained through the replacement of Corrino imperial power, which was supported by Sardaukar military strength; with Atreides imperial power, supported by Fremen military strength.

Paul's interpretation of his prescient visions also necessitated that Arrakis be transformed from a barren desert planet into a lush and fertile world, with the exception of a small desert for the sandworm to remain alive and keep producing spice. By the end of his rule this plan was well on its way to succeeding. This program had begun under Pardot Kynes as an attempt to harness a planet; however, under Paul, it became part of a plan to save humanity.

Despite his strong leadership and formidable prescient abilities, Emperor Paul Atreides began to feel building pressure from discordant groups within the Empire: notably the Bene Gesserit, Bene Tleilax, Spacing Guild, fringe groups within the Fremen, and the exiled House Corrino. Among their schemes was the detonation of a stone burner in Arrakeen, which resulted in the dissolution of Paul's eyes. Upon his recovery from this incident, he shocked his subjects with the unfazed ability to perceive the world around him through prescience alone.

Death of Chani[]

Despite having the power to view his present surroundings, doubts began to surface in Paul's mind regarding his interpretation of the future. Feeling increasingly frustrated and beyond control, he began to seek a way out. That escape route emerged through the combined treachery of his enemies - a plot conceived in the cloaking presence of a powerful Guild Navigator. Their victory apparently hinged on a Tleilaxu ghola of Duncan Idaho - now a Mentat named Hayt - who contained a secret trigger.

Concurrently, as part of a Corrino and Bene Gesserit plot to deprive the Emperor of illegitimate heirs and potential threats to the Sisterhood's breeding program, Princess Irulan slowly destroyed Chani's fertility by feeding her contraceptives without her knowledge. In desperation, Chani adopted a spice-heavy diet to restore her ability to become pregnant, with eventual success. This was traumatic on her metabolism, however, and the Emperor's Consort died during childbirth, causing Paul to go blind with grief and utter Hayt's trigger phrase: "She is gone."

Now overcome by his Tleilaxu conditioning to assassinate Muad'Dib, Hayt fought to stay his hand and preserve his Emperor's life. As the Tleilaxu had hoped, this caused a turbulent conflict within the ghola, thereby unlocking his past identity and loyalty to House Atreides, becoming Duncan Idaho once again.

Predicting Chani's eventual demise and Duncan's restoration, the Face Dancer Scytale, posing as Chani's handmaid, sprung into action and held the newborn twins at knifepoint. Besides the success of unlocking a new form of immortality for his Tleilaxu masters, Scytale used this opportunity to strike a bargain with Paul, offering to resurrect his loved one - both physically and mentally - for a heavy price: House Atreides would have to abdicate the throne and relinquish their CHOAM holdings. Although tempted beyond measure, Paul killed Scytale with the help of his newborn son's shared vision.

Exile into the desert[]

After the birth of his children, Ghanima and Leto II, Paul was convinced he had lost his prescient powers: he only foresaw the birth of his daughter, and he could no longer view the world around him. Therefore, as no more than a blind Fremen, Paul disappeared into the deep desert, offering himself up to Shai-Hulud in honor of Fremen custom for the blind. This action made a powerful statement: it signified to his people that Paul's interest was for the tribe, and that even he - Usul, Paul who was Muad'Dib - was not above Fremen law.

As the Preacher (10210-10219)[]

Many years after his apparent death alone in the desert, and while the Atreides Empire was under the regency of his younger sister Alia Atreides, a new figure, The Preacher, appeared from the deep desert. By urging civil disobedience against the Atreides Empire, and warning of the consequences of a green Arrakis, The Preacher attracted an ever increasing number of followers. Many believed this thundering blind stranger to be Paul Atreides, as he was blind and led by a boy.


The Preacher eventually revealed himself to his son Leto, and the two of them travelled throughout Arrakis, breaching the water storage of every sietch so that it would spill out onto the sand. Eventually Leto and the Preacher returned to Arrakeen to confront Alia, who had clearly shown herself to be Abomination by this time. Eventually rising tensions saw Alia commit suicide in front of her mother and Leto. During the ensuing chaos, The Preacher was assassinated in Arrakeen, but not before he had revealed beyond a doubt to Gurney Halleck and Jessica that he was indeed Paul Atreides.

Thus, the great Paul Atreides, son of Leto the Just and the first Atreides to ascend to the Golden Lion Throne since its inception more than ten thousand years prior, was dead, passing into legend for eons to come, laying the way forward for his son to take the Golden Path to its logical conclusion. While Paul envisioned the Golden Path, the ultimate transformation that would see his humanity dissolve into a sandworm frightened him. Upon revealing himself to his son, Paul confessed that his desire to maintain his humanity, and the fear of abject loneliness that the Golden Path would bring, were too much for him. He related that he walked away from what he knew he had to do, and admired but lamented for his son who had taken on the mantle that would see humanity restored, but at the cost of his own.

Physical Appearance[]

In his youth, Paul was a small boy with an oval face, with tousled coal-colored hair and green eyes. After his time among the Fremen, he grew to a a stringy whipcord of a youth, not as desiccated as the Arrakeen natives, but with ribs there to count, and sunken in the flanks so that the ripple and gather of muscles could be followed under the leathery skin. His oval face was like his mother Jessica’s, but he had stronger bones and a browline reminiscent of his maternal grandfather. He had a thin, disdainful nose, long lashes concealing lime-toned, directly staring green eyes, and a hardness in the expression like the old Duke, his paternal grandfather.


  • Prescience: As the Kwisatz Haderach long sought out for by the breeding programme of the Bene Gesserit Order, Paul possessed a powerful ability to bridge space and time with prescient ability. From an early age, he experienced visions in his dreams which were reported to the Sisterhood by his mother Jessica and was known to have had visions that were accurate, penetrating, and defied four-dimensional explanation. This was one of the key attributes that made them first suspect him being their long-awaited Kwisatz Haderach achieved early. Upon the arrival of House Atreides on Arrakis, Paul's prescient ability was strengthened by the spice melange he constantly inhaled, and it grew greatest during his alliance with the Fremen people, when he first forsaw the jihad that would be waged across the Known Universe in his name, and began to try and avert it. By the end of his reign, Paul's prescience was so powerful that when he lost his eyesight due to a Tleilaxu stone burner, he could interact with the world around him without aid. This was because he was able to remember all the details of his vision of the future. Essentially, Paul knew where everyone would be and what they would say and do. While this helped him in many situations, it was also ultimately his downfall as he was helpless to prevent his future.
  • Weirding Way: Paul was trained by his mother in the Weirding Way of the Bene Gesserit, allowing him to maneuver around and strike an opponent at unimaginable speeds. When first encountering Sietch Tabr this saved his life, as he was able to overcome the Fremen who saught to kill him and Jessica for their water by means of the Weirding Way. He later taught the Way to many of the Fremen across Arrakis, making them into skilled and deadly Fedaykin by these means, and this was a key factor in his victory in the Battle of Arrakeen.
  • Voice: At the time the Atreides landed on Arrakis, Paul was also developing the audio-neuro control mechanism of Voice used by the Sisterhood to achieve complete control over a reciever. He demonstrated his emerging talent in this field when, after the decimation of the Atreides and the capture of him and his mother into an ornithopter, he used the Voice to order a Harkonnen agent to remove Jessica's gag so that she could use it even more effectively against him, and thus saving both their lives.
  • Prana-bindu control: Paul was taught by the supreme control of nerve and muscles known to the Bene Gesserit as prana-bindu by Jessica, which laid the foundations for his use of the Weirding Way and allowed him to gain a higher control over his body which would come to his advantage at many points in his life.
  • Swordfighting: In addition to the Bene Gesserit techniques taught to him by his mother for his survival, Paul became a skilled swordfighter after years of training by his chief Atreides teachers, the renowned Swordmaster Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck, who he nearly bested shortly before the move to Arrakis. This proved to be a vital skill, as he employed it not only to best Jamis after he declared amtal during his early years in Sietch Tabr, but later to kill his cousin, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, another skilled fighter, in a kanly duel at the time of his ascension to Emperor.
  • Mentat training: For the first fifteen years of his life, much of Paul's training, through his teachers, had been geared toward turning Paul into a Mentat by order of his father Duke Leto. The theory was that when Paul succeeded his father as the Duke of the Atreides, one of the most respected and moral Great Houses of the Imperium, a Mentat-Duke would truly be a formidable force in the Landsraad. He became a fully fledged "true" Mentat after first escaping the Harkonnens with his mother, and the high level Mentat abilities he gained at that time would help him at many points in his life, including helping handle the data of the battles of his jihad and allowing him to piece together the nature of the conspiracies which were aimed against him more quickly than he could have otherwise.
  • Endurance: Paul's unusual endurance, especially for a male, was noted by Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam when she tested him with a gom jabbar, a test which he passed through this skill. She noted that he surmounted more agony in the test than any other human of record.


"Muad'Dib is wise in the ways of the desert. Muad'Dib creates his own water. Muad'Dib hides from the sun and travels in the cool night. Muad'Dib is fruitful and multiplies over the land. Muad'Dib we call 'instructor-of-boys.' That is a powerful base on which to build your life, Paul Muad'Dib, who is Usul among us."


Paul's surname, that of his family of House Atreides, meant "son of Atreus" in Greek, due to the Atreides' descent from Agamemnon, Orestes' father and the son of Atreus.

The name Muad'Dib, given by Stilgar after Paul bested Jamis in amtal, was taken from the Fremen name for the kangeroo mouse of the Arrakis desert. While he originally called himself Paul-Muad'Dib after accepting this name, as to not completely remove the name given by his father, this did not become a common name and by his time as Emperor he was generally called only Muad'Dib. While this was the open way to refer to Paul, it was also decided after Jamis' death that the private name used within the sietch would be Usul, meaning "the strength of the base of the pillar" in the Fremen language. He was also called Abu Dhur or Abu d'Dhur.


In addition to being the Kwisatz Haderach long sought for by the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, Paul was known as both the Lisan al-Gaib and the Mahdi to the Fremen. The vanquished of his jihad called him the Tyrant, a title which would later be used more widely to describe his son, the God Emperor, after his assassination. In his nine years as a nameless blind Fremen after walking into the desert, Paul was known by the title of the Preacher in absence of any name that could be given to him. He was given the postthumous title of the Mentat Emperor by the Mahdi Spirit Cult. He was given the title of Father of the Indefinite Roads of Time while being called Abu Dhur by Stilgar and later his son Leto II, who also called him the Fil-Haquiqa and The Reality.


  • It's coming. I see a holy war spreading across the universe like unquenchable fire. A warrior religion that waves the Atreides banner in my father's name! Fanatical legions worshipping at the shrine of my father's skull! A war in my name! Everyone shouting my name!- Lamenting his prescient visions

  • I am Paul Muad'Dib Atreides, Duke of Arrakis! The Hand of God be my witness, I am the Voice from the Outer World! I will lead you to PARADISE!- Assuming full control of Fremen society

  • Silence! - Cowing the Emperor's Truthsayer into submission



Appearances of Paul Atreides

Behind the Scenes[]

  • In the short story Spice Planet, which evolved into Dune, Paul was called Barri Linkam.
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky wanted his then 12-year-old son Brontis Jodorowsky to star as Paul in his unmade Dune adaptation.
  • According to novelist Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert's son and biographer, House Atreides was based on the heroic but ill-fated Greek mythological House Atreus. Noting that the characters in Dune fit mythological archetypes, Brian Herbert wrote that "Paul is the hero prince on a quest who weds the daughter of a 'king'". A primary theme of Dune and its sequels is Frank Herbert's warning about society's tendencies to "give over every decision-making capacity" to a charismatic leader. He said in 1979, "The bottom line of the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes. Much better rely on your own judgment, and your own mistakes." He wrote in 1985, "Dune was aimed at this whole idea of the infallible leader because my view of history says that mistakes made by a leader (or made in a leader's name) are amplified by the numbers who follow without question." In a 1970 interview, Herbert noted that the character of Paul was constructed to express "the conflict between absolutes and the necessity of the moment". Brian Herbert wrote:

    Paul Atreides (who is the messianic "Muad'Dib" to the Fremen) resembles Lawrence of Arabia (T. E. Lawrence), a British citizen who led Arab forces in a successful desert revolt against the Turks during World War I. Lawrence employed guerrilla tactics to destroy enemy forces and communication lines, and came close to becoming a messiah figure for the Arabs. This historical event led Frank Herbert to consider the possibility of an outsider leading native forces against the morally corrupt occupiers of a desert world, in the process becoming a godlike figure to them.

    The similarity to T.E. Lawrence was reinforced within the novel Dune Messiah, in which a chapter heading-quotation is taken from a post-conquest work of Paul's, with the title The Seven Pillars of the Universe. This appears to have been inspired by Lawrence's account of his war-time activities in the desert, titled Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
  • Throughout Paul's rise to superhuman status, he follows a plotline common to many stories describing the birth of a hero. He has unfortunate circumstances forced onto him, and after a long period of hardship and exile, he confronts and defeats the source of evil in his tale. As such, Dune is representative of a general trend beginning in 1960s American science fiction in that it features a character who attains godlike status through scientific means. Paul's riding and controlling a giant sandworm cements him as a Fremen leader, and he eventually gains a level of omniscience which leads to his accession to the Imperial throne and causes the Fremen to worship him like a god.
  • The Egyptian-Canadian commentator Khalid M. Baheyeldin has enumerated the obviously Islamic concepts and references appearing in Dune, to the level of finding multiple similarities between the career of Herbert's Paul Atreides and that of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Beyond the obvious general resemblance - both Muhammad and Atreides found a powerful new religion, energizing hitherto disregarded desert-dwellers to topple an old empire and build a new one - Baheyeldin noted various specific similarities between Muhammad's career and that of Atreides.
Preceded by
Leto Atreides I
Duke of House Atreides
10191 AG - 10196 AG
Succeeded by

Preceded by
Shaddam Corrino IV
Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe
10196 AG - 10210 AG
Succeeded by
Alia Atreides (regent)

v  d  e
House Atreides