Salomé’s Sexuality Book Reviews Example
Sexual development and characterization is at the helm of Salome by Richard Strauss. This is evident in the manner in which Salome experiences a somewhat sexual evolution. This can only be perceived as an evolution, or rather, a maturing. Strauss derives this sexual evolution from the play by Oscar Wilde, further emphasizing it through the character development and musical language of Salome. To this end, Salomé’s sexual development occurs in three structural phases: a phase of sexual healing, a prepubescent stage, and lastly, a dangerous stage of sexual development. Throughout the play, Strauss’ opera successfully depicts how Salome’s sexual transformation was but a presentation of an alternate path to self-fulfillment, save for the archetypal religious salvation. On this note, Strauss’ choice of setting divulges a seemingly temporal, secular, and aestheticism, the endpoint of which is an Earthly spirituality.
Salome is a one-act play written by Oscar Wilde in year 1894 who was a famous poet and writer of his time. His poems were not only famous during his time, but they are also famous in this modern era; however, still there are more interesting factors in his writing. Discussing the characters of Salome we have the major character of the story Salome, who is the daughter of Herodias, Herodias was a widow, but after sometimes she got married to the brother of his husband, King Herod. There was another character of Jokanaan; Jokanaan is a nobleman Jokanaan claimed that the king's marriage is illegal because Herodias is the widow of Herod's brother. Oscar Wilde had first written this play in French because of the British law in past not to depict Bible characters, but later the orders changed so he translated this play in English and it was also performed for the British audience after Wilde's death. Wilde’s play Salome depicts dangerous sexuality. This play suggested that, “Salome sexuality is dangerous sexuality, it can lead to death.”
In this play, Oscar Wilde had shown some amazing effects and the dangers of beauty from the character of Salome. He depicts the dangerous sexuality through this character. Dangerous sexuality here means the beauty, which can take someone’s life. In different parts of the play, people were killed due to the sexuality of the Salome. Discussing, Oscar Wilde play, my view to the Salome sexuality is that it is dangerous because it can take human lives because we can see that throughout the play, the males were killed being getting attracted towards the Salome beauty. In the play, the main idea of the Oscar Wilde was to show the danger of the sexual desire that leads to the death. He shows the dangerous relationship of sexual desire resulting in death. In the whole play, males and females get attracted towards each other and their sexual desire lead them to death. There were many reasons showing the dangers of Salome sexuality; the Salome real father was killed due to the acceptance of Herod love by Herodias. Secondly, the death of the Syrian, who was in love of Salome, would not have accepted the love of Salome to Jokanaan. After this, Salome offered her love to Jokanaan, who rejected the offer. Another danger is shown through the death of the Salome because of her evil act of kissing the head of Jokanaan.
This section comprises of the reasons of the dangerous sexuality, so the first reason is the jealousy. The character of Salome was very dangerous from the beginning of the play because she was too much beautiful and her beauty attracted everyone, which arose a desire towards her and her beauty attracts everyone. In relation, it is dangerous because it created a sense of jealousy among the Syrian when he saw the desire of Salome towards the other man, the Syrian committed suicide. Oscar Wilde in his play Salomé praising the beauty of character Salome writes, “How beautiful is the Princess Salomé tonight!” (135). “Look at the moon! How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from the tomb. She is like a dead woman. You would fancy she was looking for dead things” (135). “She is like a woman who is dead and she moves very slowly” (135).
The second reason is the pride. In the feelings of love, the factor of pride has major influence. The event of Jokanaan’s death showed the pride of the Salome. When King asked Salome to dance for him, she took an oath from the King that he had to fulfill her demand after her performance; however, the king Herod agreed to her wish. This part of the play is a most famous scene in the book and famous in live performances. Conquerordias is the widow of Herod's brother. This scene showed the most sensual dance performance of Salome and the whole audience was attracted to the performance. After she had started dance performance, Herod expressed his sexual desires; he went on the stage and showed his feeling through the strong gaze on her. However, Salome returned the looks as she was unaware of the desires of Herod, and she was confused because of the king’s feeling. As she finished her performance, she asked the King to present her the head of Jokanaan, who had refused Salome offer of love. The King fulfilled his promise and presented her the head of Jokanaan in the silver charger.
On assurance of Wilde, it was specifically written for Sarah Bernhardt, this ancient serpent of the Nile; however, in London it was banned by the censor to the statement: the UK banned theatrical performances on biblical subjects. The play was published in 1893, and in 1894 came out its translation into English with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. The play was staged in Paris in 1896. The basis of "Salome" put to death episode biblical prophet John the Baptist (in the play it appears under the name Iokanaan), as reflected in the New Testament, but the version proposed in Wilde's play, is by no means canonical.
In 1892, he wrote and delivered the first comedy "brilliant Oscar Lady Windermere's Fan, and success of his comedy made Wilde the most popular man in London, who was once known esthetic act Wilde associated with the premiere of the comedy. Coming on the scene at the end productions, Oscar drag on his cigarette, then began "Ladies and gentlemen! Probably not very polite of me to smoke, standing in front of you, but as much rude to bother me when I smoke. In 1893, he released his next comedy A Woman of No Importance and its title is based on paradox before the Apostle of Beauty felt these technique relatives.
The third reason is evident from following words of the author: Wilde in his play Salomé said, "I do not heed my mother. It is for my own pleasure that I asked the head of Jokanaan in a silver charger. You have sworn, Herod. Forget not you have sworn an oath” (155). The third reason is that beauty is also a danger to itself. This curse is shown through the part of play when King presented Salome the head of Jokanaan, Salome kissed the head of Jokanaan. This incident gives a very shocking look to the play. This incident troubled the King majorly, and he ordered the death of Salome. Oscar Wilde in his play Salomé through the character of Herod said, "It is true, I have looked at you all this evening. Your beauty troubled me. Your beauty has grievously troubled me, and I have looked at you too much. However, I will look at you no more. Neither at things nor at people should one look. Only in mirrors should one look, for mirrors do but show us masks” (156).
This act shows that Herod protects himself from the misfortune the other three people faced, Herod ordered the death of Salome rather than facing it himself like the Syrian did in the past. He ordered the death of Salome rather giving his life. Overall view of the play has given us the idea of the dangers of Salome Sexuality. In different stages of the play, many people gets into the sensual desire and whoever gets in the trouble of desire must face the danger of death. The gazing and sexual desires can lead a life to danger.
Conclusively we can suggest that the sexual desire of the character and the image of the moon and gazes can lead the people to death; while moon has represented the character of Salome, its functionality is to expose everyone to death. Throughout the play, the man and women got attracted to each other, and their acceptance and rejection converted into the death of some person. This makes clear that the Salome beauty is dangerous in a major way.
Bennett, Chad. “Oscar Wilde’s Salome: Décor, Des Corps, Desire” ELH 77 (2010). 135–156.
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