Study Guide

Salomé Genre

By Oscar Wilde


Biblical Drama, Tragedy

Salomé is based on the story of John the Baptist's beheading, which can be found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, making it a—you guessed it—Biblical drama.

And although Wilde changes—some might say "perverts"—the story significantly, he remains true to its roots: he doesn't attempt to turn what is a serious episode in the story of Jesus into a comedy or a farce.

Instead, he turns what is already a tragic story into something way, way, way darker. While the Gospels' Salomé is an innocent girl manipulated by her mother, Wilde's Salomé decides the fate of Jokanaan without any prompting or consultation. The play's final moment, in which Salomé is quickly executed after kissing Jokanaan's lips, only reinforces the creeptastic gloominess of Wilde's vision.