The Page of Heroidias, and some soldiers are gathered on a balcony overlooking a well. Offstage, Herod is conducting a banquet with many guests. While a man and the Page discuss the moon, a figure for Salome ,four soldiers discuss a group of Jews in Herod's court, who are arguing their religion. They become anxious that the Tetrarch is "sombre" because he is looking at someone, and they try to determine who it is. They begin a conversation about religion, and one of the soldiers reveals that it is the voice of Iokanaan, a prophet whom Herod had captured in the desert. The prophet is now imprisoned in the palace cistern. When one of the men asks to see the prophet, another soldier explains that Herod has forbid anyone from visiting or even looking at his prisoner. Salome enters, and hears the shouting and asks the Young Syrian about the body behind the voice. They explain that Iokanaan is the prophet who has been shouting about Salome's mother, and tell her that he is imprisoned in the palace cistern. Salome convinces the Syrian to let her see the prophet by promising him that she will look at him the next day when she is traveling through the gateway of the idol-sellers.Salome, finding that she is attracted to Iokanaan, begs him for a kiss, but he refuses, recognizing her as the daughter of Herodias. Upon seeing Salome's desire for Iokanaan, the Syrian becomes distraught and kills himself. Two soldiers rush to hide his body from Herod. Herod and Herodias enter, accompanied by their guests. Herod soon abandons the conversation he is having with his guests about religion and politics to try to persuade Salome to join him over wine and fruit. She refuses, which amuses Herodias. The voice of Iokanaan, shouting insults about Herodias, interrupts the discussion and upsets the queen. She suggests to her husband that he turn Iokanaan over to the Jews who have been ogling after him. After discussing the controversial figure of Christ, to whom he is indifferent,...
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