“Everything is not what it seems,” while this lyric may seem trite, it holds great truth. People, places, activities, each can be viewed in more than one way depending on the circumstances. From these viewpoints spring complexities and mystery in the shape of differing facades.
She lifted it out, and looked at it---a leg of lamb “ (Page 2). The fact that Mary Maloney can’t even feel herself doing anything, corresponds to how shocked she is. As a matter of fact, that is when her consciousness of her action momentarily fades away. She cannot accept the fact that her beloved husband would betray her like this, but in a way, the introduction to the story already tells us that their relationship isn’t strong and loving. Also, Mary is shown to have picked the very first thing she found, which was a lamb leg. This proves that she had no intention of premeditating a weapon beforehand, but instead used whatever she could find to let out her emotions. In addition, pregnant women are more emotionally unstable and because of that Mary Maloney couldn’t handle the stress of the news her husband told her. The final quote that proves her temporary insanity is, “She stepped back, waiting, and the strange thing was that he remained standing there for at least four or five seconds. Then he crashed onto the carpet. The violence of the crash, the noise, the small table overturning, helped to bring her out of the shock… It was extraordinary, now, how clear her mind became all of a sudden. She began thinking very fast. As the wife of a detective, she knew what the punishment would be…In fact, it would be a relief. On the other hand, what about the baby ” (Page 2)? Not only did she regain her consciousness, moments after her husband’s death, but she also
In Roald Dahl’s short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” , Mary Maloney murders her husband, a detective, after he declares that he is leaving her. Mary then has to cover her tracks or else she and her unborn child will be killed. Throughout the story, Mary’s character changes from loving wife to cold killer and back again based on her situation.
Mrs. Maloney gets away with the murder in the end. This caused by a revolting ending in which he police detectives eat the leg of lamb that was used to kill Patrick. The writer creates an unbelievable ending by making the story, up to the murder, set in a very normal family house. It is not somewhere you would associate with a morbid killing. The writer builds up an impression that the marriage may not be as good as it could be, and both were under strain not to release the tension onto each other.
Mary has three distinct personalities throughout the story. In the beginning of the short story, “Lamb to the Slaughter” she seems like a devoted wife to her husband, Patrick. For instance, “The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight-hers and the one by the empty chair opposite. On the
Dahl’s use of dramatic irony during the story helps displays the actions of Mary Maloney and other characters. Mary Maloney swings the leg of the lamb to the back of the head of her husband. Dahl says, “ 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 320). As a result, this quote is effective because the lamb was used as a weapon, instead of food; which shows that Mary could use anything to harm someone without her trying or when it was her attempt to hurt that someone. The story writes, “Probably right under our very noses. What you think, Jack”. In the same way as the first quote, this sets back to Mary because she sabotages the police to eat the lamb. With the police eating the lamb she is getting rid of the evidence so she does not get caught. From the use of dramatic irony in the story, Dahl's builds Mary as a character; he also uses different irony to create her.
Traumatic news can lead to traumatic actions. In Roald Dahl’s ”Lamb to the Slaughter,” main character Mary Maloney is told very shocking new that causes her to overreact and kill her husband Patrick Maloney. Their blissful life turned upside down in a matter of five minutes. Mary was a great wife to Patrick. She loved him very much and is even carrying his child. Mary always catered to Patrick and was very loyal to him. Mary Maloney is a sympathetic character because she was very loving, compliant, and only lied to protect her baby.
At the beginning of the story, Mary Maloney loves and adores her husband, this does not last very long. Dahl uses simple but strong sentences to portray the killing of Patrick Maloney “At the point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him 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.” This illustrates Mrs. Maloney walking without any hesitation, killing her beloved husband and this also exemplifies the ultimate transformation of Mrs. Maloney from her calm behavior to being over dramatic. Another detail that this phrase demonstrates is that Patrick is so focused in his thoughts that he doesn’t sense his wife walking up towards him. Dahl reveals this unexpected transformation of Mary Maloney through her actions and thoughts. Another phrase that exemplifies Mrs. Maloney’s change in character is when she thinks to herself, after killing Patrick, “‘All right,’ she told herself. ‘So I’ve killed him.’” This illustrates Mrs. Maloney’s impeccable life, or what she conceives to be her life is demolished. At this point of the story, Dahl uses direct and indirect sentences to develop the protagonist and to show the complete transformation of Mrs. Maloney and brings her to
Author also surprises readers, when he introduces conflict between a couple that used to love each other deeply. Diverting the story from love to betrayal, author develops an irony. In the story, reader sees two examples of betrayal. Ms. Maloney, while talking with her tired husband, finds out her husband no longer want to keep their marriage. Without giving any kind of reason, Patrick betrays her wife with a decision of breaking marriage. Mary shocks, when her husband, boldly, says, “ This is going to be bit shock of you”(P. Maloney) Author creates a total opposite picture of Patrick by describing him as a husband who used to give her wife surprises; he is now giving her shock in the middle of her pregnancy. Mary, who was previously shown as “anxiety less”(Dahl), with “a slow smiling air”(Dahl) and “curiously tranquil”(Dahl), had began to get upset and now inculcate her eye with a “bewildered look.” After betrayed by her husband, she, without any argue, she goes to the basement to look for frozen food. She decides to have leg of a lamb as a last dinner with her husband, but she smashes the frozen leg in to Patrick’s head with killing him. Mary betrays her husband by killing him and takes revenge of her betrayal. Later, Author confirms her as a murdered with the statement of “I’ve killed him”(Mary) from her own lips. Dahl, in the story,
Mary is very manipulative in that she is able to create the character of the poor, pregnant wife, whose husband has just been murdered. She is able to convince the police to take pity on her, to mix her a drink and then to even eat the evidence, the leg of lamb that she has left in the oven. "Why don’t you eat up that lamb that is in the oven" (Dahl, p. 17). Mary realizes that if the police find the evidence she will go to jail. Her quick thinking and manipulative character results in the police officers eathign the evidence and therefore she cannot be charged of this crime. These actions show the complex character that Mary Maloney truly is.
To start off, it can be clearly seen from the short story that Mary Maloney is guilty. She makes a conscious effort to make sure she reacts as if she has not committed this crime in the text “Lamb to Slaughter” she says, “If she finds anything unusual or terrible when she got home, then it would be a shock and she would have to react with grief and horror.”(Dahl 383) By her stating this it shows that she knows she is guilty and that she killed her husband. The main reason I chose this quote was that it shows that she knows what she is talking about and that she has to act like this otherwise she will be caught and
The conflict in “Lamb to the Slaughter” is, that Mary. Maloney, a devoted housewife, six months pregnant, kills her husband with a leg of lamb after he tells her that he is planning on leaving her. In the very beginning, the atmosphere is very calm. Mary Maloney is peacefully sewing in her living room waiting for her husband, a police officer, to come home from work. After his arrival, they silently sit in the living room drinking whisky. Mrs. Maloney watches her husband very carefully but after he swallows his whisky very quickly and gets another stronger drink, the reader notices that something is unusual. Before she wants to fix something for supper, her husband stops her and tells her, even though it isn’t exactly conveyed to the reader, that he
This is a twisted, gripping tale of Mary Maloney, who murders her own husband by hitting him with a frozen leg of lamb and then hiding her crime and disposing of the evidence by feeding the lamb to the policemen who come to investigate the murder.
Mary killed her husband by her hitting him on his head with a frozen leg of lamb. Her being a detective’s wife, knew how to set up her alibi. First, she cooked the murder weapon. She went to the grocer to establish her alibi; she was shopping for the evening dinner and was not home when her husband was killed. Mary called the police and told them her husband is dead. After verifying her alibi, Mary insisted on the detectives eating the murder weapon.
Mary's husband tells her that he is leaving her. "´So there it is," he added. "And I know it's a bad time to be telling you this, but there simply wasn't any other way. Of course, I'll give you money and see that you're taken care of. But there really shouldn't be any problem. I hope not, in any case.´¨ The husband makes it sound like Mary must depend on him -- like she is worthless without him. In reality, Mary can take care of herself. As if to prove this point Dahl has Mary kill her husband. Which can be seen as the ultimate act of revenge. At this point, Mary has called the cops and they are arriving. ¨´The car came very quickly, and when she opened the front door, two policemen walked in. She knew them both. She knew nearly all the men at the police station."Is he dead?" she cried. "I'm afraid he is. What happened?´" This is perhaps the darkest form of revenge simply out of the fact that the statements she makes are out of anger. It is plain deceit -- Mary is lying to men she has known for a long time. The dark and simple dialogue in this section of Lamb to the Slaughter shows an extreme form of revenge, in the case, murder.