Salome

The Intertextuality of Carol Ann Duffy's "Salome" 12th Grade

“Salome” is a poem taken from Carol Ann Duffy's collection of poems The World's Wife; most of the poems share a common feature: a historically marginalized narrator retelling the story from personal perspective. Salome’s character originally appeared in the New Testament and over the centuries many novels and paintings focused on Salome and the legend of Salome contributing to iconization of the character as a vicious femme fatale. One of the texts that followed the biblical story of Salome is a fin-de-siecle play written by Oscar Wilde. This play may have even had a larger influence in the creation of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “Salome”, than the original story. Such an influence is suggested by the intertextual relationship between the two texts established through characterization and juxtaposition of tone and rhyme.

In Wilde’s play, symbolism contributes most to Salome’s characterization. Throughout the play the moon can be perceived as a metaphor alluding to the main character. In the opening scene it is depicted by the Page of Herodias “like a woman rising from a tomb,” “like a dead woman… looking for dead things”. Later on in the play Salome herself reflects on the state of the moon as if reflecting on herself "cold and...

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