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Oscar Wilde's play tells in one act the Biblical story of Salome, stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter, so she can kiss it, as a reward for dancing the dance of the seven veils.
Salome is the virgin princess of Judah: royal, powerful, beautiful, seductive, naive, mesmerizing—yet unaware of her consequences. Her desire to win Jokannan’s love drives her to act as a murderer. Her contradicting characteristics are displayed in this scene, depicting the climax of the play—Salome as a monstrous evil, lingering in blood, after she kissed the beheaded Jokanaan.