Fascination with women who kill men

The Daughters of Herodias in “Hérodiade, Salomé”, and “A Full Moon in March” (PDF)

by Marilyn Gaddis Rose

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/stable/41152436

Mallarmé as the faun demi-god Pan

Reading an article that links Mallarme, Wilde and Yeats’ examinations of the Salome story. Men are preoccupied with stories about women who kill men. For some reason they stand out from all the stories about men who kill women. Against the backdrop of ongoing war, why does this one incident draw so much attention?

Men like to think they are stronger than women. Masculinity is stronger than the feminine. When examples arise that undermine this idea – showing that men can be suppressed by their own weakness – desire for women – men are terrified and paralyzed.

The recovery of Salome as a cultural figure and her transformation into a femme fatale occurred in the era leading up to Victorian times, when femininity was at its most repressed and controlled in western culture. To examine an example of feminine strength would be both horrifying and fascinating.