The Voice In Dune Fully Explained
“Dune” is the next big thing when it comes to big sci-fi epics making their way to the big screen, but it was no easy feat getting a proper adaptation in front of the eyeballs of fans and casual viewers alike. Director Denis Villeneuve made the bold decision to split the first “Dune” novel into two parts, though a second part was never a guarantee. Luckily, a second part has been confirmed and will be released in October of 2023 (via The Hollywood Reporter). The decision to split the book into two films was a smart choice, as the world and mythology of “Dune” is dense and highly complex.
In fact, one of the more complex pieces of the science fiction franchise is a power known as the Voice. It’s a power that we see protagonist Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) use a few times in “Dune,” though it’s more effectively used by Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). There’s a good reason for this, actually, that fits into the wider world of the movie and its complicated history and political structure. But what exactly is the Voice and how does it work?
The Voice is mainly a tool of the Bene Gesserit
While this is touched on a bit in the first “Dune” movie, the power of the Voice is mainly used by the religious sect known as the Bene Gesserit, an ancient organization that follows an equally ancient religion. The Voice is just one of many of their gifts, though it’s arguably the most fascinating. While the Bene Gesserit are mostly female, Paul is able to use the ability because of his mother being a member and because he’s been trained by her.
According to the “Dune” novel (via Inverse), the Voice essentially allows its users to utilize certain vocal tones in order to strongly influence others into actions they wouldn’t necessarily normally make. However, this power is not derived from telepathy like some other Bene Gesserit abilities. Rather, it uses subtle sonic waves to bend whoever hears the Voice to its and its user’s will. It’s an extremely fascinating and ultimately dangerous ability in the wrong hands. Even after years of training, however, Paul is still not very proficient at using it. This suggests that it can take years, perhaps even decades, to master such an ability.
How often the Bene Gesserit use the Voice
According to Dune Scholar, the Voice is actually an ability that the Bene Gesserit use sparingly and usually in instances to protect themselves or other people from harm. The reason the ability is so useful to them is that it requires no other actual tools other than one’s vocal cords and training to perform. One of the biggest negatives of the power, and something that’s been exploited by the enemies of the Bene Gesserit, is that the Voice doesn’t work well on those who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Diving a little deeper into how it actually works, the Voice is dependent on three things in a person’s speech patterns: their tone, their timbre, and their pitch. Interestingly enough, a user of the Voice must also find the right spectrum and combination of the three depending on the person they are using the Voice on. Find the wrong spectrum, and the power is likely to not work at all or not work as well as it could. “Dune” novel author Frank Herbert was never one to overexplain the Bene Gesserit or their powers, but he definitely tried to bring some sort of internal logic to the Voice, as well as the other abilities that they use.