Lamb to the Slaughter Essay In the short story, Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl, Dahl uses the

literary devices of dramatic irony, foreshadowing, and imagery to depict a dark comedy by grasping the idea of a tragedy becoming humorous. There are multiple uses and examples of irony throughout this short story that relate to the idea of a dark comedy. One key quote of dramatic irony comes from the end of the book stating, ³Personally, I think its right here on the premises.´ ³Probably right under our very noses. What do you think, Jack?´ (pg. 324)This quote here shows us as that the detectives have no idea that they are actually eating the evidence of the murder right then and there. We, as the audience, obviously know what is going on and by Mary Maloney chuckling at that statement shows us that Dahl turned something as horrible as murder into something that she laughs at in the end referring to the idea of dark comedy. Verbal irony is also represented in this piece of literature. When she goes to the market, she talks to the grocer and states, ³No, I¶ve got meat, thanks. I got a nice leg of lam, from the freezer.´ (pg. 320) This is verbal irony because it shows that what she is saying is basically telling the grocer what she used for the murder of her husband. The irony here is amusing, knowing the fact that killed the supposed love of her life and can so easily lie about it. So again, the verbal irony really catches the tone of the dark comedy that Dahl is trying to capture here. Both dramatic and verbal irony relate to each other in the sense that the audience feels the ideas of a tragedy as something funny therefore, relating back to the overall picture of the piece of literate as a dark comedy.

one would never expect something as simple as the title to explain and foreshadow so much of the literature. again. A leg of lamb. The four men searching the rooms seemed to be growing weary. but to do that. An example of foreshadowing the murder that was about to come would be. In just about every scene imagery was used.Foreshadowing is a device used to give the reader clues as to what is expected to happen in the story and is a key element when writing about a dark comedy.´ (pg. It was wrapped in paper. 317) basically sums up what is going to happen through the story. As a reader of this story. they must put in ideas beforehand to make it as suspenseful as possible. nearly nine she noticed by the clock on the mantel. ³She could hear their footsteps on the gravel outside. ³She lifted it out. the title. so she took off the paper and looked at it again. Imagery is a crucial device used by the author to set the scene of this nasty humor. A second idea of foreshadowing comes from something one reads at the beginning of the book. The title ³Lamb to the Slaughter´ (pg. There were a few examples more significant then others such as when the cops were searching Mary Maloney¶s house stating. The idea of a ³leg of lamb´ would never be thought of as a deadly weapon which is why it is thought of as to be comical. making it one of the most common devices in the story. going back to the idea of a dark comedy. and looked at it. The great amount of foreshadowing put into this text creates the mood of satiric humor which is exactly what the author had intended for. and sometimes she saw the flash of a torch through out a chink in the curtains. An author wants one to feel the crude humor that is going to happen. a trifle . It began to get late. 319) This foreshadows Mary Maloney¶s murder of the husband because nothing was expected to come from her going down to the freezer to get a piece of meat to cook for dinner.

There are so many uses of imagery throughout this piece of writing that make the dark comedy idea clear and fulfilling the intentions that Dahl had for the crude humor. soda water. the two old table lamps alight. only describing what is going on in the room.´ (pg. This piece is important due to the fact that the idea of her thinking she is going to get away with murder shows the cruelness in her but making it out to be a humorous act. . Dahl¶s success of making this story a dark comedy is what made the literature such an interesting piece to read. therefore making it weary and maybe even having a suspicious vibe. two tall glasses. whisky. Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos bucket. we could infer that the setting here isn¶t happy and pleasant. Different example support this idea and make it come clear throughout the short story. An additional piece of imagery represented in the text comes from the beginning of the book saying. ³The room was warm and clean.exasperated. Each one of the literary devices stated above contribute to the idea that ³Lamb to the Slaughter´ is a dark comedy. the curtains drawn.´ (pg. This is very important to making the idea of a strange environment come through to the reader. On the sideboard behind her. 323) This setting here depicts the idea of the worry that Mary Maloney might have while they are searching her house so she sees that they are getting exhausted and she decides to take advantage of this. 317) Just by reading the first three sentences.hers and the one by the empty chair opposite.

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