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What is the irony in the story Lamb to the Slaughter?

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lcarpenter711 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2007 at 1:56 AM via web

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What is the irony in the story Lamb to the Slaughter?

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rowens | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted May 17, 2007 at 2:19 AM (Answer #1)

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There are a couple of ironic points to this story. First of all, the title is a pun. A lamb to the slaughter usually refers to someone who is unaware they are about to be harmed, since lambs are easily led to their slaughter since they trust the one leading them and they are unaware of what is to become of them.

In this story, the husband, Patrick Maloney, is killed like a lamb, totally trusts his wife Mary and is completely unaware of his impending doom, but the title is also ironic because it is actually a frozen leg of lamb that is used to slaughter the hapless victim.

The final irony is dramatic irony, because the reader knows that the leg of lamb was used as a murder weapon, but the police unwittingly eat the evidence when the killer serves the roast leg of lamb to them.


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bookwormgirl | eNoter

Posted May 17, 2007 at 4:55 AM (Answer #2)

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The irony is in life and in this story is there are many innocent who are led by individuals to harm unknowingly, some continue to be led by the same person, and then by others. It seems lambs or trusting, gullable people make easy targets, over and over again

Patrick Maloney is the very trusting individual that is killed like a lamb, he absolutely trusts his wife Mary and never would think of her as causing him harm. The other ironic thing that happens is the frozen leg of lamb is the murder weapon used to kill Patrick. Then the leg of lamb, the very evidence and murder weapon is eaten by the police.

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spearnicholas | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted January 26, 2012 at 1:07 AM (Answer #3)

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One of the most important examples of irony in 'lamb to the slaughter' is when the detectives are eating the leg of lamb and say, "its probably right under our noses". This is an example of dramatic irony because you know the weapon they're looking for is literaly under their noses.

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animegamer119 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 19, 2012 at 2:32 AM (Answer #5)

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      • Verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony are used in this story.
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thunderlash101 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 6, 2012 at 1:26 PM (Answer #4)

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all of the above

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