Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
What is the significance of Herod's smothering of the torches at the end of the play? Why does he retire from view?
What is the significance of Naaman, Herod's executioner? Why function does he serve in the play?
Examine the relationship between the Syrian and the Page. What does it have to do with "looking"?
Suggested Essay Topics
What is the significance of the mouth in Salomé? Possible considerations include: the relations between the mouth and eroticism, the mouth and the voice, the mouth and the dead, etc.
Consider Salomé's color scheme. How do colors function in the play? Possible considerations include: color and symbolism, color and synesthesia (the confusion of the senses), color and the body, etc.
Consider the prohibitions on looking in the play. Who is prohibited from looking at what? On what terms, in whose authority, and in what language do the prohibitions appear? What transpires when these prohibitions are violated?
Consider the trope of the dance in Salomé. Along with the dance of the seven veils itself, when does "dancing" appear in the play? What is its significance?
What is the function of the Jews in the play? Consider them in particular their relation to their "foils," the Nazarenes?
What is the significance of blood in Salomé? Consider, for example, the bloodstain left by the Syrian in which Herod slips, the blood petals of Herod's garland, etc.
Consider the trope of decapitation in the play. Along with the prophet's execution, where else does decapitation appear? What is its significance? You may also want to examine related tropes of defacement, dismemberment, castration, etc.
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