In Wilde's version, Salomé takes a peverse fancy to Jokanaan (John the Baptist) despite (or perhaps because of) the grim prophecies he has for her mother, Herodias, and stepfather, the Tetrarch (King Herod). It seems as if these prophecies, and the detestation both Herod and Herodias have for the prophet, are the reason for Salomé's sudden obsession--and possibly Jokanaan's immediate dislike of her. Wilde quickly establishes Salomé as a spoiled princess with little regard for human life and far too much awareness of her own beauty.
There are many parallels between Salomé and the moon in the text, often ominous and foreshadowing later events in the play:
The Page of Herodias: Look at the moon! How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. She is like a dead woman. You would fancy she was looking for dead things.
The Young Syrian: She is a little princess who wears a yellow veil, and whose feet are of silver. She is like a princess who has little white doves for feet. You would fancy she is dancing.
Historically, the moon is said to be responsible for madness, or "lunacy", brought about by staring at it too long. During the course of the play several characters, including Herod, are taken over with lust for the princess, despite the urgings of others not to look at her:
The Page of Herodias: You must not look at her. You look too much at her.
Herodias: You are looking again at my daughter. You must not look at her. I have already said so.The text is heavily repetitive and the effect on the reader is hypnotic. From the outset it is clear that several characters are doomed, and the constant pleas to look away from Salomé and Salomé's continual vow that she will kiss Jokanaan (the event that will bring about her downfall) raises the dramatic tension to an abrupt climax.
Several years ago I saw a production of this play in which all the characters wore B&D get-up. I have to say I wasn't impressed. The leather collars, whips and studs seemed cheap and nasty in comparison with Wilde's rich dialogue. While there's certainly plenty of lust in Salomé, there's very little about it that suggests dominant/submissive relationships. Salomé has Herod in the palm of her hand from the moment he promises her anything her heart desires, but her control is opportunistic rather than the premeditated fantasy of a dominatrix.
Salomé is a dark, richly worded play. It's a delight to read and I'm looking forward to one day seeing an adaptation that does it justice.
And on a more frivolous note, woohoo! 200 followers! You guys rock :D