What are the instances of black comedy in the story "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several instances of black comedy in Roald Dahl's "Lamb to the Slaughter." When Mary commits the murder of her husband, for example, her reaction makes light of the violence which has just occurred:

All right, she told herself. So I've killed him.

Next, after committing the murder, Mary tries to make herself appear as normal as possible. She washes her hands, for example, fixes her make-up and practices her smile in the mirror. This scene is humorous because Mary does all of these things while there is a dead body lying next to her.

Finally, Dahl uses black comedy to add humour to the final scene in the story in which the police detectives are discussing the murder weapon. They have no idea that they are, in fact, eating the weapon which killed their colleague, Patrick Maloney. The sense of comedy is further reinforced by the image of Mary laughing in the other room.