Date of Award

Fall 1-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Myron Yeager

Second Advisor

Joanna Levin

Third Advisor

Richard Ruppel

Abstract

The subject of my research is the 1891 play Salomé, by Oscar Wilde and my thesis addresses the modern psychological implications of the cultural truths revealed by Wilde's re-vision of the myth of that biblical femme fatale. I argue that in fashioning a tragic heroine out of a female monster figure of “Immortal Vice”, Oscar Wilde created a document that captures two contradictory narratives: one in which Salomé plays the heroine of a tragedy and another in which she performs the role and functions of a villain. By employing Carl Jung's psychology of the archetypes, I am enabled to read Wilde’s play as a cultural and psychological phenomenon that (self-consciously) constructs a religious and patriarchal narrative around its central female character, which captures her in a tragedy of socially imposed destruction. Ultimately, this paper poses a psychological assessment of Salomé, in which Jungian archetypes illustrate--at a psychic level--Oscar Wilde’s precocious and liberal-minded modernizations of a two thousand-year old myth.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, October 01, 2021

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