I remember in the book of Dune, the duke won't marry Jessica. Why doesn't Duke Leto marry Lady Jessica?

  • Are you referring to the movie, as well as the book? In the question you mention the book, but you tag 'movie' as well Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 22:41
  • 7
    It is clearly explained in the book :) Even the end of the book is a phrase about wives vs concubines. I suggest you re-read it.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 22:41
  • @AndresF. - reading the book isn't required to ask questions here as hashed out on meta. Just FYI. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:16
  • @DVK Oh, I didn't flag the question, and didn't downvote though I was tempted to. That said, this really is trivially answerable by skimming through the first few chapters of the book. It is mentioned multiple times, and the book ends with a reference to this.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:58

2 Answers 2


Not marrying his concubine leaves the way open for a politically strategic marriage with another House in order to gain power, influence, or create an alliance. This is explicitly stated in the book(s). Since Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a faction that does not have (explicit) political influence of any kind, marrying her would not gain any advantages for House Atreides.

Note that Paul, for the same reasons, did not marry the woman he loved, but married into the imperial family by demanding the hand of Irulan after his victory on Dune.

  • this is a very common medieval practice Commented May 16, 2014 at 6:18

Chapter 7 of Dune explains the situation well. His reason for not marrying Jessica is purely political and motivated by a love of his house's wellbeing.

The Duke turned, faced his son, revealing dark circles beneath hard eyes, a cynical twist of mouth. "I should wed your mother, make her my Duchess. Yet - my unwedded state gives some Houses hope they may yet ally with me through their marriageable daughters." He shrugged. "So, I. . . . "

"Mother has explained this to me."

  • Thank you! And I knew it was because he wanted to make alliances with other houses, I just needed more described detail for a research paper. Lol I've planned on rereading it later this week but found this website and decided to give it a shot! thanks!!
    – abc123
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:05
  • 2
    @abc123 - If it's for a project, I'd suggest something like this; hsc.csu.edu.au/english/extension1/genre/elect3/3726/dune.htm It's an annotated reader outlining all of the characters, their primary motivations, major plot elements, etc
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 23:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.