Daughter of Eve, "Femme Fatale", and Persecuted Artist: The Mythic Transgressive Woman in Oscar Wilde's and Richard Strauss's "Salome"

Corinne E Blackmer


Historically, Salome was an unexceptional figure who never catalyzed John the Baptist's death. However, in Christian Scripture, she becomes the dancing seductress as fallen daughter of Eve.  Her stepfather Herod promises Salome his kingdom if she dances for him, but she follows her mother’s wish to have John beheaded. In Strauss’s opera, after Wilde's Symbolist-Decadent play, Salome becomes independent of Herodias’ will, and the mythic avatar of the femme fatale and persecuted artist who Herod has killed after she kisses John's severed head.  Her signature key of C# major, resolving to the C major sung by Herod and Jokanaan at her death, represent her tragic fate musically.


Bernheimer, Charles (1999). “Unknowing Decadence.” In Perennial Decay: On the Aesthetics and Politics of Decadence. Ed. Liz Constable, Dennis Denisoff, and Matthew Potolsky. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Castle, Terry (1995). “In Praise of Brigitte Fassbaender.” In En Travesti: Women, Gender Subversion, Opera. Ed. Corinne E. Blackmer and Patricia Juliana Smith. New York: Columbia University Press.

Black, Jeremy A. and Anthony Greene (1992). Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Crossley, James (2015). Jesus and the Chaos of History: Redirecting the Life of the Historical Jesus. Oxford University Press.

Danson, Lawrence (1998). Wilde’s Intentions: The Artist in His Creation. London: Clarendon Press.

Day, John (1998). “Does the Old Testament Refer to Sacred Prostitution and Did It Actually Exist in Ancient Israel?” In Biblical and Near Eastern Essays: Studies in Honor of Kevin J. Cathcart. Ed. Carmel McCarthy and John F. Healey. New York, NY: Cromwell Press.

Dollimore, Jonathan (1991). Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Fisher, Burton D (2003). Strauss’s Salome. New York: Opera Journeys Publishers.

Garden, Mary (1951). Mary Garden's Story. With Louis Biancolli. New York.

Gillman, Florence Morgan (2003). Herodias: At Home in that Fox’s Den. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press.

Gilman, Sander L. (2010). “Strauss and the Pervert.” In Reading Opera. Ed. Arthur Groos and Roger Parker. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hazelton, Lesley (2007). Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible’s Harlot Queen. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Hutcheon, Linda and Michael Hutcheon (2000). “Staging the Female Body: Richard Strauss’s Salome. In Siren Songs: Representations of Gender and Sexuality in Opera. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

JPS Hebrew-English TANAKH (1999). The Traditional Hebrew Text and the New JPS Translation. 2nd edition. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society.

KJV. (1611). King James Version.

Kirk, G. S. (1973). Myth: Its Meanings and Functions in Ancient and Other Cultures. Berkeley: Cambridge University Press.

Josephus, Flavius (1998). Jewish Antiquities. English trans. H. St. J. Thackeray and Ralph Marcus. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Neginsky, Rosina (2014). Salome: The Image of a Woman Who Never Was; Salome: Nymph, Seducer, Destroyer. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Puffett, Derrick (1989). “Salome as Music Drama.” In Richard Strauss: Salome. Ed. Derrick Puffett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rix, Robert (2000). “Salomé and the fin du globe: Oscar Wilde’s Decadent Tragedy.” In Fins de Siècle/New Beginnings. Ed. In Johansen. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press.

Robinson, Bonnie J. (2006). “The Perversion of Decadence: The Cases of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray and Salome. In Decadences: Morality and Aesthetics in British Literature. Ed. Paul Fox. Stuttgart: Ibidem: Verlag.

“Salome” (1972). Encyclopaedia Judaica. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House.

Simonson, Mary (2013). Body Knowledge: Performance, Intermediality, and American Entertainment. New York: Oxford University Press.

Snodgrass, Chris (2003). “Wilde’s Salome: Turning “’The Monstrous Beast’ into a Tragic Hero.” In Oscar Wilde: The Man, His Writings, and His World. Ed. Robert N. Keane. New York: AMS Press.

Strauss, Richard (1986). Salome: G. Schirmer’s Collection of Opera Librettos. New York, NY: GS Libretto 5.

Strauss, Richard (1943). Salome, mm 1-8. Vocal Score. Arranged by Otto Singer. London: Boosey

and Hawkes.

Toepfer, Karl (1991). The Voice of Rapture: A Symbolist System of Ecstatic Speech in Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. New York: Peter Lang.

Varty, Anne (1988). A Preface to Oscar Wilde. London: Longman.

Weir, David (1995). Decadence and the Making of Modernism. Boston: University of Massachusetts Press.

Wilde, Oscar and Aubrey Beardsley (1967). Salomé: A Tragedy in One Act. New York, NY: Dover.

Worth, Katherine (1983). Oscar Wilde. London: Macmillan Press.

Yohalem, John (2016). “The Salome Scandals of 1907.” Opera News. Retrieved Jan. 31.

Texto completo: PDF


  • No hay Refbacks actualmente.

Amaltea. Revista de mitocrítica
ISSN-e 1989-1709

© . Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Biblioteca Complutense | Ediciones Complutense