Lamb to the Slaughter Literary Analysis

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Topics: Comedy, Irony
Lamb to the Slaughter Literary Analysis
Roald Dahl’s Lamb to the Slaughter is the story of a loyal’s wife reaction to her husband’s betrayal, using the rhetorical devices of dramatic irony, dark humor and foreshadowing. Throughout, the story you follow an abnormal day in Mary Maloney very wonted life. She makes the day abnormal by murdering her husband and shrewdly covers it up, without leaving a trace of evidence. The first rhetorical device encountered is foreshadowing, and foreshadowing is when the author suggests certain plot developments that will come later in the story. Dahl achieved this by writing “as he spoke, he did an unusual thing. He lifted his glass and drained it in one swallow although there was still half of it...He got up and went slowly over to fetch himself another...When he came back, she noticed that the new drink was dark amber with the quantity of whiskey in it.” This behavior is unusual for Patrick and could possibly be hinting how he was getting ready to tell some bad news. His wife who knows him very well also noted that something was different about Patrick actions. Foreshadowing is continued when “
She stood up and put placed her sewing on the table by the lamp. "Sit down," he said. "Just for a minute, sit down." It wasn't until then that she began to get frightened.” Her emotions and his actions lead to believe something bad is going to happen.
Black humor which is the use of the grotesque, morbid, or absurd for darkly comic purposes is also acknowledged. Dahl acknowledges black humor when the grocer asks Mary “then, how about meat, Mrs Maloney?” and when she answers “No, I’ve got meat, thanks. I got a nice leg of lamb from the freezer. ” It’s twisted humour because she said “a nice leg of lamb” just after killing her husband with it. Also, when she gets back home and she calls “Patrick! How are you, darling?” It’s funny because she calls him knowing he is dead. Another moment of dark humour as well as dramatic irony is when

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