How Does Dahl Use Irony In Lamb To The Slaughter

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Irony in “Lamb to the Slaughter” “It’s ironic how the people who say ‘I’m going to be here for you’ are also the first to walk away” (Anonymous). In a matter of one day, Mary’s life would forever change, along with the life of her unborn child. For on this day, she did something unthinkable. “Lamb to the Slaughter” is a short story, written by Roald Dahl, that tells the ironic story, of young Mary Maloney, who is deserted by whom she utilized to acknowledge her partner in crime. However, Mary is not as innocent as the reader would expect. Once considered as the lamb of the story, Mary is now committing the murder her husband, ironically with a leg of lamb. Once she realizes that she killed her husband, Patrick, she immediately clears her mind, …show more content…

After Mary killed him, Dahl describes his fall as gentle when he writes, “She stepped back a pace and the funny thing was that he remained standing there for at least four or five seconds, gently swaying. Then he crashed to the carpet” Dahl uses verbal irony when he claims that Patrick’s act of swaying and fall is gentle, when there is nothing gentle about being hit with a leg of lamb. Bertonneau, likewise, believes that Dahl uses verbal irony to show that the fall was quite brutal. He states that “the act is anything but gentle”, and says how it’s a bit of irony on Dahl’s part (Bertonneau 132). As the critic states, this exemplifies irony in Dahl’s story by showing how the act of killing Patrick and when he crashes to the carpet is anything but gentle. Since there is nothing gentle about getting murdered, it is ironic to utilize the word gentle in this …show more content…

After Mary kills Patrick, instead of being in shock and heartbroken, her mind is clear, rather fully functioning. Mary tells herself, “So I’ve killed him. It was extraordinary, now, how clear [my] mind became all of a sudden.” (Dahl). It is strange how Mary is able to keep a calm and collective mind after committing the murder of her husband. Situational irony is present because the reader would never expect this from Mary. Later in the story, Mary is able to start thinking about possible penalties and goes as far as to create a plan, “She sat down before the mirror, tidied up her hair, touched up her lips and face. She tried to smile. It came out rather peculiar. She tried again” (Dahl). This arises speculation, and even allows the reader to suspect if she has committed murder before. An author in Short Stories for students, Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton also writes a critical essay on “ Lamb to the Slaughter”. In that she mentions, that at this time in the story the reader thinks that Mary as the “lamb,” the character that is innocent, and the one who is about to get hurt, the reader does not notice her “composer that evening seems put on, or at least strained” (Piedmont-Marton 134). Piedmont-Marton explains how Mary’s composer, in this case when she is getting ready in front of her mirror, sees fake, and seems put on, hinting that Mary may

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