Theme Of Lamb To The Slaughter

876 Words4 Pages
The motif of the lamb leg within “Lamb to the Slaughter”, by Roald Dahl, contributes to the development of the story by embolizing Mrs. Maloney’s facade of innocence, which in turn strengthen the moral dilemma of either turning herself in as a criminal risking her child’s life or to continue living as a metaphoric lamb leg with the benefit of allowing her to raise her child without fear. Starting with why the lamb leg emblemizes Mrs. Maloney’s facade of innocence, one must first look at what a lamb by itself denotes, then narrow down and look at the meaning of a lamb leg. In regard to denotation, a lamb leg is the young offspring of a sheep. But what lambs embody within society is innocence. However, moving along, a lamb leg on the other hand…show more content…
Maloney’s facade of innocence can be seen through Dahl’s characterization of a typical housewife. Within the text, Mrs. Maloney is perceived as a loyal housewife that “[waits] for her husband to come home from work” (Roald 1), or a loving wife who cares for the well being of the love of her life that right after greeting asks: “Tired darling?” (Roald 1). This seemingly harmless dialogue builds an image of loyalty as she faithfully waits for her husband to return abandoning all other activities to elucidate her dedication to her husband comes first before all. In general, she is portrayed in a “tranquil” (Roald 1) mood inside her house with her words bringing forth an innocent and loving tone. Nevertheless, all what Roald has built up to make the audience believe that Mrs. Maloney is a loving wife breaks down when she “[walks] up behind [Mr. Maloney] and … swings the big frozen leg of lamb… on the back of [Mr. Maloney’s] head” (Roald 3). After she had physically assaulted and murdered her own husband, she officially filled the role of being the “lamb leg”. Dahl portrayed Mrs. Maloney as innocence and loving, just like what a lamb connotes: innocent with white fluffy fur, loving to his/her mother, and Dahl also portrays Mrs. Maloney as a “lamb leg”, the transmutation of an animal that embodies innocence into a food item procured through the murder of a baby…show more content…
After the murder of Mr. Maloney is done, she strays even further from the path of the lamb when she creates an artificial alibi by going through extreme lengths to protect her child from harm, which can seen within text. Her first step to create her artificial alibi was going to the grocery after the murder. Before going, she “rehearse[s] [her smiles and dialogue] several times” (Roald 3). By rehearsing, she keeps her appearance as a lovely housewife when conversing with the shopkeeper; maintaining her appearance and using her innocent semblance as her tool for manipulation. Afterwards, when the police arrive at the scene of murder due to Mrs. Maloney’s call, she manipulates the officers by setting setting the mood of sorrow and despair while she “sob[s]” (Roald 4) over the phone and conversing with the officers, then she manipulates the officers by using the artificial alibi she created while shopping for groceries, and further manipulates the officers by clouding their judgement with whisky. Mrs. Maloney’s reason for manipulation can be inferred when she questions what happens to the unborn child of a murder on the third page, which further infers that when Mrs. Maloney puts all her effort into deceiving the officers, it wasn’t for her
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