Dramatic Irony In “Lamb to the Slaughter,”
There are not many people that would suspect a quiet, kind housewife of brutally killing her husband, let alone a pregnant, happy housewife. In “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, Mary Maloney, the housewife of police officer Patrick Maloney turns out to be a cold blooded killer. Given she’s six months pregnant and overwhelmed with emotions because she just found out her husband is leaving her, she continues to make dinner.
In a moment of complete anger, she murders Patrick and sets of a series of dramatic events. Roald Dahl uses dramatic irony(a case when the reader knows something the characters don’t) to create suspense in the reader and leave them wanting more. Dahl uses dramatic irony when he has Patrick say, “Don’t make supper for me. I’m going out.” Patrick has already told Mary that he is leaving her, and she still wants to make him dinner. This creates dramatic irony because Patrick doesn’t know she is going to kill him, and he won’t ever being going out.
Leaving the reader wondering is she’s going to actually kill him or not. Dahl uses dramatic irony when he has Mrs. Maloney refer to Patrick in the present tense, when in fact he is already dead. “Patrick’s decided he’s tired and doesn’t want to eat out tonight.” Mrs Maloney tells Sam. This creates dramatic irony because Mrs.
Maloney knows that Patrick is dead, but Sam does not. The reader is left in the suspense of knowing she killed him, and with the chance of someone finding out she is a murderer. Dahl creates dramatic irony when he has Mrs. Maloney call the police, after she killed Patrick and gone to the market. She comes home and acts like she just found him dead on the floor.
“Quick! Come quick! Patrick’s dead!” She tells the police.This creates dramatic irony because the reader knows she killed him, but the police do not. It creates suspense in the reader because the reader is waiting with curiosity to see if the police will figure out what happened. Dahl uses dramatic irony when he has Sam talk to the police and say, “…
acted quite normal…very cheerful..
. wanted to give him a good supper… peas.
.. cheesecake… impossible that she.
..” This creates dramatic irony because Sam is saying the it is impossible that Mary Maloney killed him, when in fact she did kill him. The reader knows she killed Patrick, but Sam and the police do not. Again, this leaves the reader with the thought of her guilt, and wondering if she would ever pay for the crime she committed. Dahl uses dramatic irony when Mrs.
Maloney asks the police to eat the murder weapon. “It’d be a favor to me if you’d eat it up. Then you can go on with your work afterwards.” The creates dramatic irony because the murderer Mary Maloney is asking the police to eat the murder weapon. The reader knows it is the murder weapon, but the police do not. It creates suspense in the reader because the reader is wondering if the police will finally figure out who killed Patrick Maloney.
Roald Dahl uses dramatic irony(a case when the reader knows something the characters don’t) in “Lamb to the Slaughter” to develop a feeling of suspense in the reader, leaving them wanting more. There is constant repetition of dramatic irony throughout the entire story. When Dahl has Patrick say that he is going out, and the reader knows that Mary is about to kill him, which creates dramatic irony because the reader knows something the characters do not. Dahl uses dramatic irony when he has Mary Maloney call the police after she’s murdered Patrick, acting as though she just found him. This short story demonstrates the mind of a psychopathic killer.