Comparing Views on Marriage: The Alchemist's Secret and Lamb to the Slaughter

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Tianesha Furlow
Marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other. During the ceremony of the marriage the couple takes vows in which are promises each partner is supposed to keep. It’s a sacred matrimony which is taken very serious; in every vow it ends with “Til death do us part”. Unfortunately, in some marriages the vows aren’t taken that sacred. In the two short stories, ‘The Alchemist’s Secret”, and “Lamb to the Slaughter”, their protagonists took their vows of “til death do us part” very personal; was willing to do anything to keep their vows.

In short story, Lamb to the Slaughter, an old devoted wife, Mary Maloney, waited for her husband, Patrick Maloney, to return home from work as a police officer. He arrives home around the usual time he comes home every night. This night Mary notices that Patrick seems to be out of it and is acting weird, but she just assumes he’s tired from work. Finally, Patrick exposes his reason for acting so strange. He never states exactly, but it is inferred that he is leaving her for another woman. Mary, still in shock goes to the freezer to get a leg of lamb to cook for dinner. She continues to go in as if her husband didn’t just reveal to her that he is leaving. Patrick screams to Mary not to make dinner and she snaps. She hit him in the back of his head with the frozen lamb. Mary intentionally kills her husband. She feels as though if she can’t have her husband then no one can.

In addition, in the short story, The Alchemist’s Secret, a bitter married man comes into a gas lit herb shop where he thinks it’s going to be a solution to all of his problems. He hears of the famous Doctor Maximus who could make him no longer married to his cheating wife. In the herb shop Doctor puts some type of chemicals in whatever is desired of the customer to kill someone instantly with no discovery of the death in the autopsy. He wants his wife dead before he sees her fall in love...
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