SALOMÉ, Oscar Wilde

SALOMÉ A Tragedy in One Act
by Oscar Wilde free ebooks
Salome Summary
As Salome begins, the Young Syrian, the Page of Herodias, the Cappadocian, the Nubian, and a number of soldiers stand on a great terrace in the palace of Herod. It is night, and the moon is shining. Towards the back of the set, there is a large cistern in which Jokanaan, the prophet is imprisoned. The Young Syrian repeatedly speaks to the Page of how beautiful Salome is, but the Page tells the Syrian that he should not look at Salome so much, that something terrible will happen.

The two also discuss the moon. To the Page, the moon seems like a dead woman. For the Syrian, the moon is a dancing princess. The Cappodocian, the Nubian, and the soldiers discuss various beliefs about the nature of God or the gods. The first soldier says that the Hebrews worship a God that cannot be seen, and the Cappadocian sees no sense in such a belief. In his country, there are no gods left. From the cistern, Jokanaan speaks of the coming of Christ, and there is some discussion of the nature of Jokanaan’s prophecies, of whether the prophet is a holy man or is only ‘‘saying ridiculous things.’’

Salome enters, saying she can no longer stay in the banqueting hall with Herod and Herodias. To Salome, the moon is a virgin—‘‘She has never defiled herself.’’ Salome hears the voice of Jokanaan and says she must speak with him, that he must be taken out of the cistern. At first, all say that Jokanaan cannot be removed, but finally the Syrian is persuaded by the princess’s charms to bring him forth. Jokanaan is released and begins to speak against Herodias, Salome’s mother. free ebooks