Wellington Yueh

Wellington Yueh

Dune character box
name = Dr. Wellington Yueh

caption = Dean Stockwell as Dr. Wellington Yueh in ""Dune" (1984)

caption2 = Robert Russell as Dr. Wellington Yueh in the "Dune" miniseries (2000)
alias =
gender = Male
born = 10,082 A.G.
died = 10,191 A.G.
occupation = Suk doctor
spouse = Wanna Marcus The following epigraph appears in "Dune": "YUEH (yu'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."]
parent(s) =
child(ren) =
sibling(s) =
other =
affiliation = Suk School
House Atreides
portrayer = Dean Stockwell (1984 film)
Robert Russell (2000 series)
debut = Dune
departure = Dune [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.]

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).

Yueh was played by Dean Stockwell in David Lynch's 1984 film "Dune". Robert Russell portrayed the character in the 2000 "Dune" miniseries.


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 pretense 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:

The Baron has taken Yueh's wife Wanna prisoner, threatening her with torture and death 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. The Atreides are soon attacked by Harkonnen forces (secretly supplemented by the seemingly unstoppable Imperial Sardaukar) as Yueh follows orders and disables the protective shields around the Atreides palace on Arrakis. Also as instructed, Yueh takes Leto prisoner; however, suspecting that the Baron has already killed Wanna, 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 discovers that Wanna is indeed dead moments before De Vries kills him, and Leto's assassination attempt of the Baron only kills Leto and De Vries. Leto and Jessica's son Paul Atreides flees into the desert with Jessica, aided by survival kits left for them by Yueh. Both are presumed dead, but are of course alive and living among the planet's native Fremen.

"Prelude to Dune"

In the "Prelude to Dune" prequel series 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 physician to House Atreides are also explored.

"Hunters of Dune"

In "Hunters of Dune", the continuation of the original series by Brian Herbert and Anderson, 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.

"Sandworms of Dune"

In "Sandworms of Dune", the Herbert/Anderson sequel to "Hunters of Dune" and supposed finale of the original series, the young Yueh ghola is wracked by feelings of intense guilt over the actions of the "original" Yueh, and fear 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 can only be restored by subjecting the ghola to an intense personal trauma; individually-tailored scenarios must be devised for each ghola.Herbert, Brian; Anderson, Kevin J. (August 2007). "Sandworms of Dune". Tor Books, pg. 107-112. ISBN 0-765-31293-X.] Realizing young Yueh's great fear of having his memories restored, Sheeana leads Yueh to believe that she can restore his memories easily, and uses her skill as a sexual imprinter to begin the process; Yueh's own intense resistance unlocks his past memories. He 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:

On the ship, Yueh is manipulated 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. The Jessica ghola is devastated.

Yueh is thought to be the saboteur wreaking havoc on "The Ithaca", but it is later revealed that a pair of Face Dancers have murdered and replaced fellow passengers the Rabbi and the ghola of Thufir Hawat; it was the false Rabbi who had deceived Yueh about the Leto ghola.

During the climactic knife fight between Sheeana's Paul Atreides ghola and a twisted Paul ghola named Paolo, Paul is mortally wounded and Yueh works frantically to save his life. He realizes that Paul is beyond medical assistance, and will surely die. But Paul's memories are restored by the trauma of impending death; Jessica reminds him of his Bene Gesserit-trained physiological control. Paul manages to repair the worst of the damage internally using this training; though weak, he survives. Meanwhile Yueh, no longer bound by his Suk conditioning, uses Paolo's knife to stab the Baron Harkonnen ghola through the throat and up into the brain, killing him.

Eleven years later, Yueh lives on the original Atreides homeworld Caladan, helping Lady Jessica restore it to its former glory. He has finally found peace, and both look forward to the adulthood of the new Leto I ghola in their midst, now ten years old.

Notes and references

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.