According to the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist was being held in prison for criticizing Herod's new bride, Herodias. On Herod's birthday, his stepdaughter Salome performed the highly sexual Dance of the Seven Veils. Herod was so aroused that he offers anything to Salome as a reward for her performance. She asks for only one thing: the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter! Oscar Wilde's play Salome (and Strauss' opera), takes the story to another level by portraying Salome as having an incredibly sexual crush on John the Baptist. When he refuses her, her anger gives fuel to her final, bloody request.