Saturday, August 29, 2009

Off with His Head

The Decollation of St John Baptist: the prophet imprisoned by cruel wavering Herod; the insensate fury of Herodias at her false marriage being exposed and denounced; Herodias corrupting her daughter to dance the dance of the seven veils to captivate her father; Herod's delusion by perverse incestuous lust leading to his rash vow; his sinful adherence to that vow, wicked and deserving only of being justly broken; the Baptist's head is brought on a platter; and so the foul unholy trinity of tyrant, adultress and temptress compass the death of Christ's Forerunner - yet their free descent into evil is made to serve the glory of God through the martyrdom of John, just as within a few short years the conspiracy of Jews and Romans against Our Lord proves not deicide, but the salvation of mankind.

I rather like the unscriptural denouement of Wilde's Salome - she, the otherwise unnamed daughter of Herodias, who had changed her earthly and rejected love for John into diabolical hate, dares to kiss the pure lips of the severed head (that holy relic) in her insane desire, and at that moment Herod sees her monstrous crime: he commands his guards, "Kill that woman!" - curtain.

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