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Salomé according to Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde wrote ‘Salomé’ in 1891, in French, during his Parisian sojourn.

It is told that one evening, after conversing on the representations of Salomé throughout history, he returned to his hotel to notice a blank copybook lying on the desk, and it occurred to him to write down what he had been saying. He wrote a new play that way, ‘Salomé’, then, rapidly and in French.

A tragedy, Salomé is based on the stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, and on the choice we know from the holy Gospel, to request the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils. It is important to affirm that Wilde did a quiet “sensual” elaboration of the Gospel because, according to the original story, Herodias, Salomé’s mother, asked her the head of the prophet to revenge of what he publicly said against her and her behaviour. Wilde imagined Salomé fascinated by the look, the hair, the mouth of the prophet and eagerly willing his head to kiss it. Moreover, the dialogue between Love and Death is an important reading key of the Victorian literature, of what the Irish novelist and poet was an important exponent.
And it is to note that the dance was enormously appreciated by Herod, spite of mother’s opinion; on the opposite, the request for the head of Jokanaan made her stepfather’s disappointment and her mother’s delight.



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