“How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb” (p. 1)
The Page of Herodias sees the moon as a dead woman, a fearful omen, while the Syrian sees the moon as a princess in a veil, an omen of his love for Salomé.
“Go, bid her rise up from the bed of her abominations, from the bed of her incestuousness, that she may hear the words of him who prepareth the way of the Lord, that she may repent of her iniquities” (p. 11).
When Jokanaan comes out of the cistern, he speaks of the Queen, or symbolically of the country, that it is time to repent, since he is the forerunner of the Messiah.
“It is his eyes above all that are terrible . . . like the black caverns of Egypt in which the dragons make their lairs” (p. 11)
Salomé is both horrified by Jokanaan's words and appearance and drawn to them at the same time.
“Daughter of Sodom, come not near me! But cover thy face with a veil, and scatter ashes upon thine head, and get thee to the desert and seek out the Son of Man” (p. 12).
In the Bible, the city of Sodom was associated with sin, and it was judged by God as evil and destroyed by fire. Jokanaan calls Salomé a citizen of that wicked city metaphorically. He tells her to cover herself with veil and ashes, signs of repentance or mourning, and to seek Christ (the Son of Man) in the desert for forgiveness.
“It is thy mouth that I desire, Jokanaan. Thy mouth is like a band of scarlet on a tower of ivory. It is like a pomegranate cut in twain with a knife of ivory” (p. 14).
Mimicking the Biblical poetry from the “Song of Solomon” or “Song of Songs,” Salomé woos Jokanaan.
“He was my brother, and nearer to me than a brother. I gave him a little box full of perfumes, and a ring of agate that he wore always on his hand. In the evening we were wont to walk by the river” (p. 16).
The Page of Herodias mourns the death of the Syrian Captain, with whom he seems to have been in love.
“I will not deliver him into your hands. He is a holy man. He is a man who has seen God” (p. 21).
Herod refuses to give Jokanaan to the Jews who think of him as a heretic. He believes he is holy, although he has imprisoned him to keep him from stirring things up politically in the country.
“I suffer no man to raise the dead. This Man must be found and told that I forbid Him to raise the dead” (p. 24).
Herod is incensed and threatened when he hears that Jesus can raise the dead to life.
“When I came hither I slipped in blood, which is an evil omen; also I heard in the air a beating of wings, a beating of giant wings” (p. 29).
Herod is drunk and nervous about the omens in the palace and wants Salomé to dance to relieve his fear. He feels the presence of the Angel of Death.
“I have a collar of pearls, set in four rows.They are like unto moons chained with rays of silver . . . Thou shalt be as fair as a queen when thou wearest them” (p. 36).
Herod tries to bribe Salomé to get out of his promise to give her the head of Jokanaan.
Salome : Top Ten Quotes