Comparing The Black Cat And Roald Dahl's Short Stories

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A researcher in criminal psychology named Robert D. Hare once said that the motives of psychopaths “are to manipulate and take, ruthlessly and without remorse.” Edgar Allen Poe and Roald Dahl’s short stories create characters that display the traits of psychopathy and sociopathy that Robert D. Hare describes. Often, people think of psychopaths and sociopaths as being the same.The common belief is that both psychopaths and sociopaths are both crazy and don’t know right from wrong. However, they are two completely different types of people, both know what they are doing is wrong, and these short stories illustrate these traits. It’s easy for readers to pass off the characters in these short stories as simply being crazy when in reality their…show more content…
In the text “Lamb to the Slaughter”, the main character, Mary, acts impulsively without planning out her actions. She walked up behind her husband and “without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head”(Dahl 1). Therefore, she doesn’t think at all before killing her husband. This is highlighted when the author uses the words “without any pause”(Dahl 1). Her impulsive and violent actions display traits of sociopathy. When sociopaths in the real world commit a crime, they “often say, in explaining their horrible actions that they ‘just snapped’”(Thomas 11). This is why they often do violent and reckless things; it is because they aren’t thinking and also do not feel much guilt. This is reflected in the text when Mary Maloney kills her husband the day he told her bad news, without thinking about the consequences. Adding on, Mary is very manipulative with the detectives. She convinces the detectives to eat her food, even though they aren’t allowed to. She nicely asks the detectives to “eat up that lamb that’s in the oven” (Dahl 3). This works for her, and her manipulative actions end with the detectives eating the murder weapon, which was a good thing for her because they can easily tell who the murderer is if they find the weapon. sociopaths often use their “charm and confidence to get
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