Play Analysis: Oscar Wilde’s Salomé

Salomé is a tragedy in one act by Oscar Wilde, originally written in French and first published in 1891. The titular character and several other characters are taken from an Old Testament story in which King Herod promises his stepdaughter Salomé anything she desires if she dances the dance of the seven veils for him. Salomé promptly asks for the head of John the Baptist, and Herod must oblige.
In Wilde's version, Salomé takes an obsessive fancy to Jokanaan (John the Baptist) despite (or perhaps because of) the grim prophecies he has for her mother, Herodias, and stepfather, the Tetrarch Herod. Also, the Young Syrian has fallen for her and – willing to do anything for her – kills himself because she takes a much greater interest in Jokanaan. In addition to this, her uncle and stepfather Herod is enchanted by her, he cannot avert his eyes and promises to fulfill her every wish if she will only dance for him.
The most prominent symbol is the moon which is often described parallel to how and when Salomé is described:
The Page of Herodias: Look at the moon! How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. She is like a dead woman. You would fancy she was looking for dead things.
The Young Syrian: She is a little princess who wears a yellow veil, and whose feet are of silver. She is like a princess who has little white doves for feet. You would fancy she is dancing.
The line “looking for dead things” also hints at the numerous deaths to follow which Salomé is responsible for. In addition to that even Salomé herself wishes to be like the moon or rather like the pagan goddess Cybele who was obsessed with preserving her virginity and thus took pleasure in destroying male sexuality:
Salomé: The moon is cold and chaste. I am sure she is a virgin, she has a virgin’s beauty. Yes, she is a virgin. She has never defiled herself. She has never abandoned herself to men, like the other goddesses.

Moreover, the moon is also a proverbial cause of madness...