A synopsis of Salomé

A summary of Oscar Wilde's tragedy, which tells the Biblical story of Salomé, first published in 1891 in French.

Salomé is the princess of Judaea, daughter of Queen Herodias, step-daughter to King Herod. Judaea was a province of Ancient Rome during the reign of Julius Caesar. 

On the night in question, King Herod and Queen Herodias are hosting a wild, drunken banquet. Salomé sneaks away from this banquet out to the terrace to escape the leery eyes of Herod and his entourage.

On the terrace, Salomé meets a captured young Syrian prince who is totally and completely hypnotised by her beauty. But Salomé doesn't pay attention to him. She's more interested in the mysterious booming voice coming from a prison cell, the voice of Iokanaan, AKA John the Baptist.

Salomé demands to meet this Iokanaan and, though it's against the rules, her wish is granted. She falls in love with him, but Iokanaan rejects her. Even so, Salomé assures him that she will kiss his mouth. No matter what, she WILL kiss his mouth. 

At just that moment, Herod and his guests burst onto the terrace looking for Salomé. He becomes increasingly fixated on her. Seeing this, Queen Herodias warns him, with more and more urgency, to stop looking at her. Despite these warnings, and a series of ominous events - Herod starts hearing the distant beating of wings and the moon turns red - he demands that Salomé dance for him.

At first she resists his demands. But, after being promised anything she wishes in return, she agrees. Salomé will dance, the Dance of the Seven Veils. But at what price?