Salome – Oscar Wilde (Book Review)


I spent a good hour and a half reading Salome without prior knowledge of the story or it’s length. This one-act play details good old King Herod’s scheming to get in the pants of his young step-daughter. Salome, the object of his lecherous lust, is more than a little mentally unbalanced and prattles on endlessly to the prophet/prisoner Jokonaan (John the Baptist) in an attempt to ultimately gain a kiss from him. At Jokonaan’s refusal, she is rejected, scorned, and downright fuming.

Moving along, Herod convinces Salome to dance and she finally relents on the proviso that he owes her a favour. After she sashays around a bit, she requests (as most of us know) the head of said prophet/prisoner on a silver platter, to which King Herod responds with a lengthy soliloquy on what he would prefer to give her instead (not quite THAT honest actually…)
True to the biblical account, the head is served. But all does not end there!

On further research, it seems there are some magnificent paintings that accompany this brief tale but my version was text-only so I used my imagination. The question I am left with is how would someone never acquainted with the Bible story take this play? And what was Mr. Wilde’s intention?


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