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Comment on the irony in the short story "Lamb to the Slaughter."I am having a hard...

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dolphin3185 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 9, 2010 at 9:25 PM via web

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Comment on the irony in the short story "Lamb to the Slaughter."

I am having a hard time starting my literary analysis. Should I write about the irony in the story or other elements? Will there be enough to talk about?

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srodgers1029 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 10, 2010 at 12:06 AM (Answer #1)

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Even the title of this short story is ironic.  Literally, a leg of lamb is used as a murder weapon, one the police eventually consume, creating dramatic irony, while jesting that the weapon is probably "right under [their] noses," which, of course, is verbal irony.  What might be overlooked, however, is that the title is also a Biblical allusion.  The Bible refers to Christ as being led "like a Lamb to the slaughter."  This allusion sets up even more irony, this time situational.  Mary's name is an allusion to the Biblical Mary, but she is nothing like the the Virgin Mother.  Once scorned, she sets in motion a premeditated course of action to kill her husband--a husband who is himself a detective, which is yet another case of situational irony.

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