What Role Does Saome Play In The Tragedy Of Mariam

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Alongside King Herod, Elizabeth Cary depicts Salome as one of the main villains of ‘The Tragedy of Mariam,’ being directly or indirectly involved in the deaths of many characters: Constabarus, Mariam, the sons of Babas and Sohemus. However, unlike Herod, she bears a more nuanced side to her villainy and can, to a certain extent, be considered a victim. In a way, Salome is depicted as an immoral, lustful adulteress who flaunts her illicit affairs and has two husbands killed when they are no longer of her interest. She plotted the downfall of her first husband by fabricating rumours that he and Mariam were having an affair whilst scheming against Herod. At the start of the play, Salome reveals that she has grown bored of Constabarus, her second…show more content…
Firstly, she strikes a deal with Pheroras upon their knowledge of Herod’s return, agreeing that she will convince Herod to approve his relationship with Graphina in return for him informing Herod that Constabarus illicitly hid the sons of Babas, which will result in Constabarus’s death. Here, she takes advantage of Pheroras’s fear and devastation of losing his beloved to persuade him to do her bidding, preying on his feelings and desires. Furthermore, Salome also continuously goads Herod during his moment of indecision about Mariam’s execution, aiming to sway him in favor of it. For instance, when Herod contemplates on sparing Mariam’s life, Salome tells him Mariam “will never break her vow, Sohemus and Joesphus are both dead,” insinuating her unchastity by implying her love for Sohemus and reminding him of her affair with Joesphus, which itself was concocted by Salome. In summation, Salome’s adept manipulation of the emotions of other characters reflects a trait of deceptiveness common amongst literary villains. Additionally she is involved in an acrimonious rivalry with Mariam, who is considered as the play’s protagonist. Salome tried to suggest to Herod that Mariam is in love with Sohemus, enraging him and causing him to order Sohemus’s death and believe Mariam to be unchaste. Ultimately, from the Butler’s words “Oh, Salome, thou hast thyself repaid for all the

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