Paul Atreides decided he'd rather not be prescient anymore even though he was physically blind and needed prescience to know anything about physical things he couldn't see. Being literally blind, he was no longer emperor.

So what was he trying to accomplish as the preacher? I can't find it right now but didn't he

try to kill Leto II

for some unexplained reason?

  • I've only read Dune, but not anything else. I do hope this isn't a major spoiler, and if it is, would appreciate if you'd hide it and indicate which book you're talking about before the spoilers. Dec 31, 2014 at 4:02

3 Answers 3


He explicitly states this towards the end of Children of Dune, when Leto II meets him in the desert.

He is trying to discredit the religion that grew up around his image and legend.


  • 2
    In other words, he's trying to do what he ALWAYS tried to do: Prevent the Jihad's casualties and the evils that organized Leto religion fosters. Oct 8, 2014 at 15:23
  • 1
    Yes, exactly. And he had a vision which showed him part, but not all, of the disaster of the Scattering and Leto's empire.
    – SteveED
    Oct 9, 2014 at 1:21

Paul's "Preacher" persona is a direct counter-balance to the religion that sprung up around him as "Mua'Dib". In his attempts to save humanity, Paul has had to make numerous sacrifices - including his very identity. In order to guide humanity along The Golden Path, Paul first had to unite all humans under a single tyrannical banner - that of the God Messiah, Mua'Dib.

However, in saving humanity Paul also saw what was happening to the Fremen, whom he loved dearly and considered his own people. Once he ultimately decided that he could not undertake the second step of The Golden Path and Leto II would assume that responsibility, Paul became the Preacher in hopes that he could save the Fremen as a people from the monster his name (and sister) had become.

So basically he knows the religion of Mua'Dib is a necessary evil, but he's still trying to do what he can to minimize the damage to the Fremen.


Paul was afraid that his feelings of lust towards his late father, Leto 1, had the power of precience.

I think that's right.


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