The story of Judith and Holofernes from the book of Vulgate demonstrates the extraordinary power a woman can possess. Judith, the heroine of the story, saves her town from destruction as the author conveys her strength, faith, and determination throughout her quest against the tyrannical Holofernes by using various archetypes and themes.
Before the actual story of Judith begins, the author provides some background information. The exposition is set in the great city of Ninevah, where King Nebuchadnezzar is in his twelfth year of reign over the Assyrians. The king decides to send a great summon to all the surrounding cities to assist him in his war against King Arphaxad. However, not one of the cities is frightened by him, so they all refuse to join him in battle. This rouses Nebuchadnezzar to fury against the entire region. For revenge, he sends his commander-in-chief, Holofernes, to destroy all the cities that ignored his call.
Holofernes sets off with his whole army to slaughter all signs of life in each of the disobedient cities. Eventually the army arrives at the gates of Bethulia, home of the Israelites. The Israelites are terrified when they hear that the Assyrian army is planning to attack them and their city. They lose their faith in God and agree to surrender in five days if the Lord refuses to show his mercy.
News of what is happening soon reaches Judith, the heroine of the story. She is a courageous widow who has a heart full of faith. Determined, Judith tells the elders of the town
that she will save the Israelites. She warns the citizens that unless they have faith in God, Bethulia will be doomed.
The next morning Judith adorns herself with glamorous jewels and beautiful clothes to attract the attention of any man who sees her. Then, she and her maidservant journey to the Assyrian camp. The guards question her motives, and she deceitfully replies that she is coming to help Holofernes gain entrance to Bethulia....