|Dr. Wellington Yueh|
|Date of birth||10,082 A.G.|
|Date of death||10,191 A.G.|
|Final appearance||Dune |
|Portrayed by||Dean Stockwell (1984 film)
Robert Russell (2000 series)
Robert Russell as Dr. Wellington Yueh in the Dune miniseries (2000)
Dr. Wellington Yueh (//; 10,082 A.G.-10,191 A.G.) is a fictional character in the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. He is primarily featured in the 1965 novel Dune, but also appears in the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999-2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. The character is brought back as a ghola in the Herbert/Anderson sequels which conclude the original series, Hunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007).
As Dune begins, a longstanding feud exists between the decadent House Harkonnen of Giedi Prime and the honorable House Atreides of Caladan. The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen's intent to exterminate the Atreides line seems close to fruition as Duke Leto Atreides is lured to the desert planet Arrakis on the pretext of taking over the valuable melange operation there. The Baron has an agent in the Atreides household: Leto's own physician, the trusted Suk doctor Wellington Yueh. Though Suk Imperial Conditioning supposedly makes the subject incapable of inflicting harm, the Baron's twisted Mentat Piter De Vries notes:
|“||It's assumed that ultimate conditioning cannot be removed without killing the subject. However, as someone once observed, given the right lever you can move a planet. We found the lever that moved the doctor.||”|
The Baron has taken Yueh's wife Wanna prisoner, threatening her with interminable torture unless Yueh complies with his demands. Harkonnen also distracts Leto's Mentat Thufir Hawat from discovering Yueh by guiding Hawat toward another suspect: Leto's Bene Gesserit concubine Lady Jessica. With Jessica herself eliminating suspects though her Bene Gesserit skills of observation and Truthsay, Hawat notes that testing Yueh in this way would be "an empty gesture ... He's conditioned by the High College. That I know for certain." Jessica also notes her knowledge that "[Yueh's] wife was a Bene Gesserit slain by the Harkonnens ... Haven't you heard the hate in his voice when he speaks the Harkonnen name?"
The Atreides are soon attacked by Harkonnen forces, and Yueh follows orders and disables the protective shields around the Atreides palace on Arrakis. Also as instructed, Yueh takes Leto prisoner; however, desiring to slay the Baron in defiance of his conditioning, Yueh provides the captive Leto with a fake tooth filled with poisonous gas as a means to kill the Baron (though Leto would die as well).
Yueh confirms his belief that Wanna is indeed dead moments before De Vries kills him, and Leto's poison-gas tooth only kills Leto and De Vries. Leto's son Paul Atreides flees into the desert with his mother, Jessica, aided by survival kits left for them by Yueh. Both are presumed dead, but actually ally themselves with a community of the planet's native Fremen.
||This section possibly contains original research. (June 2013)|
Although De Vries believed he had subverted Yueh's Pyretic Consciousness, it turns out that Yueh's actions were shaped by it. He could betray Duke Leto and House Atreides because their destruction was assured by the Baron's plot. He instead focused on protecting Paul, the Duke's heir, and ensuring that Paul got his father's signet ring, the best way to ensure House Atreides survival. Since Duke Leto was to be killed anyway, Yueh giving Leto the ability to strike back at his foe - even at the cost of his master's death - was acceptable (and also fulfilled Yueh's own desire for revenge).
In the Prelude to Dune prequel series (1999-2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, a younger Baron Harkonnen consults with Yueh seeking a cure for the debilitating disease which is slowly but surely rendering him obese; Yueh is aware of no cure, but correctly suggests that the disease's source may be the Bene Gesserit. The early years of Yueh as the physician to House Atreides are also explored in the novels.
In Hunters of Dune (2006), Brian Herbert and Anderson's continuation of the original series, Yueh is resurrected as a ghola on the no-ship Ithaca (over 5,000 years after his death) to aid in the coming final battle with mankind's "great enemy." Renegade Bene Gesserit Sheeana's ghola program also includes new incarnations of Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica, among others. In Sandworms of Dune, the 2007 sequel to Hunters of Dune and finale of the original series, the young Yueh ghola is wracked by feelings of intense guilt over the actions of the "original" Yueh, and fears that he will repeat those mistakes. Though he does not yet possess these memories, he has read all of the histories, and reaches out to the Jessica ghola for forgiveness. Similarly without memories but fully aware of their past, a kind Jessica assures Yueh that it only matters what he choses to do in this current life.
A ghola's memories are restored by subjecting the ghola to an intense personal trauma, specific to each individual; Yueh's great fear of having his memories restored itself is the trigger to unlock them as Sheeana pretends to begin the process using sexual imprinting. Yueh recalls how Piter De Vries and Baron Harkonnen had broken the Suk conditioning by repeatedly forcing him to watch Wanna be systematically tortured and humiliated. An awakened Yueh curses the Sisterhood:
|“||I have them back ... And damn you witches to hell for it.||”|
— The Yueh ghola, Sandworms of Dune
On the ship, a Tleilaxu Face Dancer in disguise manipulates Yueh into believing that an unidentified new ghola being created is that of Piter De Vries; horrified, a tormented Yueh poisons and kills it and the once-human axlotl tank in which it is gestating, knowing the consequences for his actions will be severe. Yueh admits his crime, expecting understanding though not forgiveness; all are shocked when Sheeana announces that the ghola had not been De Vries, but Leto Atreides I. Later, Yueh stabs and kills the ghola of the Baron Harkonnen. Eleven years later, Yueh lives on the original Atreides homeworld Caladan, helping Jessica restore it to its former glory.
Notes and references
- A ghola of Yueh is created in Hunters of Dune and also appears in Sandworms of Dune; these may or may not be considered appearances of the original character.
- The following epigraph appears in Dune: "YUEH (yü'e), Wellington (weling-tun), Stdrd 10,082-10,191; medical doctor of the Suk School (grd Stdrd 10,112); md: Wanna Marcus, B.G. (Stdrd 10,092-10,186?); chiefly noted as betrayer of Duke Leto Atreides. (Cf: Bibliography, Appendix VII [Imperial Conditioning] and Betrayal, The.) — from Dictionary of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan."
- Herbert, Frank (1965). Dune.
- Herbert, Brian; Anderson, Kevin J. (August 2007). Sandworms of Dune. Tor Books, pg. 107-112. ISBN 0-7653-1293-X.