What is The Voice in Dune?

31 January 2023
The "Voice" is a powerful tool that the Bene Gesserit use to manipulate and control others through their vocal inflection and tone. It is based on the idea that the human voice can have a profound effect on others, and that by using the right combination of sounds and tones, one can influence people to do one's bidding.

In the context of the Dune novels, the Voice is presented as a highly advanced technique that the Bene Gesserit have developed through centuries of training and experimentation. It is a combination of vocal control, body language, and psychological manipulation that can be used to compel others to do what the user wants. 

The Voice is also presented as a natural ability possessed by some individuals, such as Paul Atreides, who are born with a talent for manipulating others with their voice.

the voice dune explaination

The science behind the Voice is not explained in great detail in the novels, but it is suggested that it is based on a deep understanding of the human psyche and the way that the brain processes sound and language. By using the right combination of words and vocal intonation, the user can bypass the listener's conscious mind and tap into their subconscious desires and fears, effectively controlling their actions.

The Voice is used throughout the Dune novels as a tool of power and manipulation, and there are many examples of its effective use. In the first novel, Dune, the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam uses the Voice to test Paul Atreides' loyalty and obedience. She forces him to obey her commands by using a combination of vocal intonation and pain, demonstrating the power of the Voice to control others.

the voice concept bene gesserit

In Dune Messiah, Paul Atreides uses the Voice to command a group of Sardaukar soldiers, forcing them to abandon their mission to kill him and instead pledge their loyalty to him. This scene highlights the effectiveness of the Voice as a tool of persuasion, even in the face of extreme danger.

In the later Dune novels, the Bene Gesserit continue to use the Voice as a powerful tool of manipulation and control. For example, in Heretics of Dune, Mother Superior Darwi Odrade uses the Voice to force the Honored Matre Murbella to submit to Bene Gesserit control, effectively converting her to their cause.

How the Voice is used in the Dune movie

In the 2022 adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal science fiction novel "Dune," directed by Denis Villeneuve, the concept of "the Voice" is ingeniously utilized to deepen the narrative's exploration of power, control, and human potential. 

The film conveys the disconcerting effect of the Voice through a combination of sound design and visual cues, immersing the audience in the experience of its compelling power. For instance, when Lady Jessica or Paul uses the Voice, the filmmakers employ a layered audio technique that combines multiple tonalities and resonances, creating an unsettling auditory experience that signifies the unnatural influence they wield. 

This is further amplified by the actors' performances, which convey both the concentration required to use the Voice and the strain it imposes on them, highlighting the mental discipline and strength the Bene Gesserit must cultivate. Villeneuve's "Dune" thus transforms the Voice from a mere plot device into a complex symbol of authority and manipulation, reflecting the broader themes of destiny, governance, and the human condition that are central to the narrative.

the voice concept in dune


Overall, the Voice is a complex and powerful tool that the Bene Gesserit use to exert control over others. It is based on a deep understanding of the human psyche and the power of language, and is presented in the Dune novels as a natural ability that can be developed through training and practice. The use of the Voice is a key aspect of the Bene Gesserit's power and influence in the Dune universe.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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