Literary Analysis Of Lamb To The Slaughter

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“Lamb to the Slaughter”, a short story written by the celebrated author Roald Dahl, is a story that follows Mary Maloney, a pregnant housewife who had recently found out her husband, a chief detective, was going to leave her. Out of desperation, Mary murders her husband with a frozen leg of lamb and then concealing her wrongdoing and discarding the murder weapon by encouraging the policemen who were investigating the murder to eat it. The most salient idea the author explores is the betrayal; Patrick Maloney's unexplained decision to leave his pregnant wife and then Mary committing the ultimate betrayal when she murders him. Dahl emphasises his ideas and themes employing many literary techniques, including foreshadowing, symbolism and irony. These techniques build a thrilling, black comedy for the reader keeping them on the edge of their seat. …show more content…
The title is effective as the title “Lamb to the Slaughter” can represent a couple of situations throughout the story. The first is when the expecting devoted housewife Mary is told by her husband that he wanted a divorce, she was completely unprepared for the news so she represents the lamb going to the slaughter as she is being divorced. Then ironically, Mary murders her husband and he becomes the second lamb. No one saw that the pregnant devoted housewife was capable of murder. Giving the effect of surprise and suspense of what will happen next. The police are the third lambs, they do not suspect the detective's wife murdered him. They are lead by Mary away from the crime. This is an effective use of irony as it shows how cunning and malice she was whilst she seemed so innocent. Mary Maloney could have been the fourth lamb if she had been found guilty of her husband's murder, as she could have faced the death penalty or a life in prison with a

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