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Critical Evaluation – Lamb to the Slaughter Essay

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A tale of the unexpected is Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl. The story has a twist in the tale ending in which a loving wife gruesomely murders her husband. Mr Patrick Maloney, a senior in the police force seemed a happy married man to his pregnant wife, Mrs. Mary Maloney. Mr Maloney comes home one night, shocking his wife with the news he is leaving her. Mrs. Maloney is in great shock, to a state that she kills her husband, with a frozen leg of lamb. In the end she gets away with it, unwittingly the police then destroy the evidence by eating the cooked lamb.

Mrs. Maloney is your normal housewife, she sits at home in suspense waiting for her prized husband to return home from work. Her relationship with her husband Patrick is
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Until his death he is a very cold and irritable person and it doesn't make you feel very sorry for him when he dies. As his wife is six months pregnant, he should be helping her not the opposite and the news he is leaving her now gives him no sympathy from the reader.

The murder takes place in the house of the Maloney's. The house adds to the unexpected scenario fro the action to take place. A murder so gruesome would usually take place in a cold, creepy and dark place, not in a warm, homely, family environment. The atmosphere of the house changes from inviting and friendly to a tense and uneasy place after the murder has taken place.

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.

This story is a tale of the unexpected and the main way it is achieved is by making the build up to the climax of the death seem so normal. I would not expect a happy married couple, in a warm, cozy house, to be the setting for such an evil, thrilling murder to take
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