The Power of Objectification in Salome College

In Salome, Oscar Wilde’s short drama, the protagonist Salome is objectified into an idealized sex symbol by her male admirers. To see how, a reader must consider descriptions of Salome as an ethereal body, expressions of lustful desire directed at her, and the illumination of her entire body in the final scene. Through the depiction of her body as a glorified jewel, Salome accepts her innate sexual power and becomes the embodiment of carnal wants, allowing her to manipulate her father into presenting her with the head of the play’s antagonist, Iokanaan.

The character of the Young Syrian describes Salome like a treasured object through recurring celestial diction and an allusion to the moon. When first introduced to readers, Salome is described by the Young Syrian, “Never have I seen her so pale. She is like the shadow of a white rose in a mirror of silver...She is like a silver flower” (Wilde 4). Salome is portrayed as being extremely pale, which readers can infer as an allusion to a corpse. Contrastingly, she is compared to a flower, a common literary archetype for beauty. By having both the essence of death and beauty, Salome is depicted as somewhat supernatural in looks. The “white rose in a mirror of silver” creates an...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1027 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7911 literature essays, 2225 sample college application essays, 341 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in