Erasmus as Machine Fenring/DeVries
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10th March 2005 at 1:20 pm #40413MuadDibParticipant
I’ve only read the first 100 pages or so of the Butlerian Jihad, but so far, I’m getting the feeling that the robot Erasmus is a weird mechanoid amalgamation of the characters of Count Hasimir Fenring, and Mentat Piter DeVries, from the other Dune books. To show you why I think this is so:
1.) Fenring is the main advisor to the emperor of the known universe, Shaddam IV; Erasmus advises Omnius, who is technically the emperor of the known universe,
2.) Both Fenring and DeVries are willing to kill people even “just to stay in practice”, or as sport; Erasmus, kills his cook “to suprise him”, then vivisects three of his household staff, because it’s “artistic”,
3.) Once again, both Fenring and DeVries, believe that their bosses are lacking in some areas, Fenring believes that Shaddam lacks tact, DeVries that Baron Harkonnen lacks “finesse”; Erasmus, believes that Omnius lacks understanding,
4.) All of them, Fenring, DeVries and Erasmus, are convinced that their masters can be narrow minded.
Any other views on this subject?10th March 2005 at 7:23 pm #74283AnonymousGuest
Well, I like your arguement. And I will spoil you by saying he does continue over into the full Dune series, but not in the way you’ll expect 😉 When I first encounter the character while reading the book, he immediately struck me as the first Bene Tlielax. Not only did he have a “Flowmetal Face” ala “Facedancer”, but his philosophies towards strategem match up almost exactly with that of Frank Herberts B.T. That was my first thoughts anyway. What he really is, I wont say, but it will blow you away when you read Book3 😆
But personally during this phase of the series (Book 1) I think Erasmus being the only true *Independant* machine or more appropiately, a machine/human child.
You’ll find out a lot more later (Especially Book 3) about this, but for now consider this:
An almost total incomprehension of morality. Not a dismissal mind you, but a total absense of understanding. It’s important not to confuse curiousity and lack of understanding for cruelty. Little kids act quite similar before their brains are fully formed. It’s not uncommon to find a 7-year old dissecting insects, or lizards, or whatevers available on the ground. It’s not because they’re cruel or evil, but they have no empathy bond yet. By the time your a teen we (usually) grow out of going out of way to step on ants as we walk down the sidewalk or other child-like apathetic qualities.
As the series goes on, Erasmus really begins to struggle with this. It’s illustrated through many avenues, including a funny but sick scene in which Erasmus tries to understand “Art”. Again this is a subject only a human mind can truly appreciate, and in terms of “human” he’s only an infant. The big giveaway (At least for me) is that Erasmus truly has emotions, and no other machine does. However Erasmus emotions are again the emotion of a child. “Me! Me! Me!” After Butler has her child this comes front and center as Erasmus becomes jealous, and even makes evil faces at the kid behind the mothers back.
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