ENGL 233: Sci-Fi and Fantasy
December 12, 2014
Formal Essay II
Arabian Influences on the World of Dune Arabia is one of the oldest human settlements in the world, with historians dating the emergence of inhabitants at as many as 20,000 years ago. The societies that developed there and the cultures behind them have influenced many a work throughout all genres of literary work, including science fiction and fantasy. Frank Herbert’s Dune is no exception, and the setting, characters, and religion within the novel are heavily influenced by pre and post-Islamic Arabic religious beliefs, mythos, culture, society, and interactions with their environment.
To illustrate a major component of this influence, one only has to look at…show more content… The Encyclopedia Britannica article on the prophet Muhammad describes this event as the prophet hearing word of an assassination attempt on his life and the lives of his followers. To allow Muhammad to escape, one of his followers takes his place within his bed in the dead of night. This bait and switch tactic allows Muhammad and his closest friend to barely escape the city, where they find a cave in the desert where the two men hide until they are no longer pursued. Following their escape, they migrate to the city of Medina, whose inhabitants Muhammad leads to Islam and later uses his new fighting force to take back the Mecca through warfare…show more content… Herbert delves into this further within the Fremen characters in the novel when dealing with the realities of dehydration in the desert. The Fremen are described by Dr. Kynes as desperate for water: “my climate demands a special attitude towards water. You are aware of water at all times. You waste nothing that contains moisture” (Herbert 113). This constant search for water is mirrored in the history of the Bedouin people, a tribe that lived in Arabia in the second century A.D. Detailed on a webpage account of the history of the Bedouin it is described that:
Water is essential to the survival of life in the deserts. . .It is too precious for much washing, so the Qur'an permits the use of sand for the ceremonial ablutions in the absence of water. In the very short autumn, winter and spring, the Bedouin watch for rain clouds and send out scouts to find out where the rain actually fell. They then follow the rain, taking their flocks and herds to areas where it has fallen. A drought is the worst possible catastrophe, especially if it lasts for more than one year as it then spells famine and death. (“The Bedouin of