Salome - by Carol Anne Duffy ... need some help!Watch
Thank you in advance
It's from her World's Wife collection. Might be worth googling that to get a grasp of what she was attempting to do in the creation of her poems.
She deliberatly subervts the idea of Salome from the bible and liberates her, modernises her, makes her relevant to a modern audience. The man who's head she get's is John the Baptist and if you want to score good marks make sure you talk about religious imagery, especially in comparison to the other poems.
The real story behind this poem is found in the New Testament books of Matthew (Chapter 14.6-11) and Mark (6.22-28), and took place about AD 30. The historical Salome was a daughter of Herodias and Philip (he was one of the ruling family in Palestine). She danced before the ruler, Herod Antipas (Philip's half-brother and her uncle), who promised to grant any request she might make. John the Baptist had condemned Herodias because of her affair (as would now call it) with Herod, who had put him in prison. Prompted by her mother, Salome asked for the head of John and at once he was executed. The name of Salome is not used in the gospels but is known from the Jewish historian Josephus. Oscar Wilde wrote a play about Salome, in which she is presented as in love with John the Baptist; the play ends with her being executed on Herod's orders.
Either Carol Ann Duffy does not know the history well, or she deliberately takes liberties. The head on the pillow is no part of the real story of Salome, but appears to have been stolen from the feature film, The Godfather, where a character wakes to find on the pillow beside him, the head of his prize racehorse. (In the film, this is a threat, and it works - the horse owner does what he had hitherto refused to do.)
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In the poem it appears that Salome has become a serial remover of heads. She tells us that she'd “done it before” (presumably in the case of John the Baptist) and that she would “doubtless...do it again”. Having woken up with a severed head on the pillow, she cannot even remember the owner's name. So she calls for the maid has breakfast, and decides to “clean up” her life. As part of this regime, she decides to get rid of her lover - and the poem ends as she pulls back the sheets “sticky” with blood, to find “his head on a platter”. (Both Matthew and Mark say that John the Baptist's head was brought to Salome on a platter. For many generations of readers the platter was the most memorable and gruesome detail in the story.)
Ms. Duffy introduces all sorts of contemporary details into the poem, such as toast and butter and cigarettes, as well as modern attitudes, like a decision to get fit and “turf out” a lover. We also find very contemporary slang - like “booze”, “fags” and “ain't life a *****”. But the basic idea of the cold and murderous woman is an old one - the Bible shows Herodias (rather than Salome) as being like this; later tradition suggests that Salome was to become like her mother.
The black humour of the poem is well served by the style - especially the piling up of rhymes: “lighter, laughter, flatter, pewter, Peter” and so on. This becomes especially manic in:
“...as for the latter
it was time to turf out the blighter,
the beater or biter”
The poem may also raise some serious questions:
Is there anything about Salome that makes her a good rôle model for women?
What kind of world makes women become like Salome and behave as she does?
How far is this really a very modern kind of story?
How does Salome's outlook compare with Miss Havisham's?
Does the poet, in your view, agree with Salome's view that life is “a *****”? Does Salome think this, or is she making an ironic statement of sympathy for her latest victim?
Few women really kill their lovers. But perhaps some think of doing so at times. How far, in your view, does this poem give an honest account of a common fantasy?
edit: i could scan my annotated anthology
ok well basically i want to know all there is to know about this poem and the character ... so please share as information as you have got about Salome by Carol Anne Duffy
Thank you in advance
This website should give you quite a good idea about the poem
see earlier post