In Salome, Oscar Wilde conveys a hazardous connection concerning view and erotic cravings that cause death. The drama portrays an evening in a noble courtyard which Herod, the Tetrarch of Judea, and his wife, Herodias, have a banquet gathering for a few Jewish officials. Herodias’s daughter Salome goes to the terrace during the party, where she entices the stare of other men in the play, while she also develops attraction to the clairvoyant, lokanaan.
Her erotic craving for lokanaan primes his decapitation, a performance that takes her erotic satisfaction and her lips end up on the lips of his detached head. Also, Herod comes to desire his step-daughter Salome, and, after coaxing her to dance a very sexual objective dance, he is repulsed when she kisses lokanaan’s decapitated head and commands his militants to execute her. Salome’s sexuality is a dangerous sexuality, not only to the men in the play but also to herself. Throughout the play, the men look upon the women with a sexual gratification, in a way that arouses their erotic craving.
By the same token, the women give back the same looks of the men, conveying parallel cravings that end in death: Salome has lokanaan executed; and Herodias’ taking of Herod’s ffection effects in the demise of her first spouse, Herod’s brother. Furthermore, although some try to protect their view from each other, nobody is able to evade the revealing gawk of the moon, a representational expression of Salome, signifying that death is constantly a danger. Concluded with the moon and the gripping stare of each person, Wilde uses graphic insights with erotic cravings that end up causing the characters’ deaths.
These impacts of the moon create a more advanced nature as the drama advances. Later, the initial line, wherein the Young Syrian remarks on the prettiness of Salome, the Page of Herodias instantly signs the bizarre, fatal essence of the moon, relating it as a woman like character: “Look at the moon. How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from the tomb. She is like a dead woman. One might fancy she was looking for dead things” (3). Page of Herodias responds to the Young Syrian’s remark with his own as he personalizes the moon, such as senses and a perception to look for the deceased.
The Young Syrian also suggests womanly representations to the moon, as he realizes its appearance of ureness which Salome could be representing: “She is like a princess who has little white doves for feet. One might fancy she was dancing” (3). Using the moon as a woman with white doves for feet, the Young Syrian lures the feature and chastity of Salome; the dove implies clarity by its relationship with the possibility of the Holy Spirit, and the color articulates a feeling of purity.
However, vulnerability is waiting in the Young Syrian’s remark, as he dreams the moon to be a dancing young lady, like Salome, that “dance of the seven veils” (37) will be the product f lokanaan’s death and also Salome’s. Salome’s dangerous sexuality can be seen throughout the play, not only with her looks, but by how the other characters look at her. When reading the Judith Walkowitz’s “Dangerous Sexualities”, there was a contrast to transgender.
There was an excerpt stating “Krafft-Ebing constructed an ascending scale of female sexual inversion, from the woman who does not portray her “anomaly by external appearance,” to the woman who has “strong preference for male garments,” to those who play a masculine role, to the most degenerative form of omosexuality: the woman who is female in genital organs only, but whose thought, sentiment, action, even external appearance are those of a man. ” (396). This case study relieved that dressing in male garments had a positive effect with the women’s association as being male even though they possessed the genitals of a women.
Salome uses this same pattern of behavior as a delusion to her own beauty, she believes that she is so sought after that she portrays who she is based upon this gratification that she receives from other characters and assimilates herself within the realm of her own isapprehension. This association with being desirable put her on a pedestal in her own mind in which she became attracted to lokanaan that does not associate her with being sought-after. This was a danger because she put unrealistic conditions on everyone that she met and when they did not feel the same way she did, it ended up being lokanaan’s demise as well as her own.
This was a part of “Dangerous Sexualities”, that individuals and society do not agree with certain women’s thought and actions about themselves that will lead to problems within the system, as well as sexuality and society as a whole. How good to see the moon! She is like a little piece of money, a little silver flower. She is cold and chaste. I am sure she is a virgin. She has the beauty of a virgin. Yes, she is a virgin. She has never defiled herself. ” (9) As Salome describes the moon she uses her interpretation as a reflection of herself, her imagination of being unadulterated just as the moon is imitates pureness like a mirror image.
Yet, when Salome finds out of the clairvoyant, Salome grows a powerful attraction to see him. Confined in the cistern, he has not fallen to the gaze of either the moon or Salome. When Salome is finally able to see lokanaan, her gaze upon him unintentionally appeals to her desire merely on his appearance. At first Salome refers to lokanaan with very clean and white descriptions, she changes how she feels when she looks at him and uses words like, “horrible” (16), and “the body of a leper” (16).
Even though she uses these very demeaning descriptions of lokanaan, she remains to have a strong craving she still wants to place her lips upon his, which shows an urge of craving for lokanaan that he finds very intimidating and so he disapproves. Her dangerous sexuality is a punctuation mark in this moment, the thought of someone not relating her sexuality for being desirable creates a rift in her that she needs to fill. The moon changes into “a strange aspect” (13), replicating Salome’s falsification and dangerous sexuality, lokanaan can feel the haunting danger of death which came from Salome’s increasing desire for him.
Iokanaan describes the feeling of death as if the moon was at fault. When Salome’s desire for him was not mutual she demanded that he be executed even though her attraction had not faltered. After lokanaan is beheaded she describes how he looks and then kisses the head of the man that was just executed, lokanaan. Salome’s kiss with lokanaan was meant to be a manifestation of her craving, but Salome’s final satisfaction of her sexual passion is seen when lokanaan is beheaded.
During this story, she has taken small plans that lead to her putting her lips on lokanaan lips, but the development touches the most climactic moment when lokanaan’s execution takes place, not Salome kissing lokanaan. Her dangerous sexuality is seen at this pivotal moment, marking he killing of lokanaan through her own insecurities and preconceived notions on how people, (men), should look at her with desire and when her imagination did not reflect reality then her sexuality became dangerous.
After the execution, the kiss that Salome gives to lokanaan was the recognition of the unsatisfactory culmination of desire and weakness through her dangerous sexuality leading not only to lokanaan death, but her own end as welI. This story was a depiction of lust, humiliation, power, and disgust. A perfect culmination for an example of how Salome’s sexuality was in fact, a dangerous sexuality.