Lamb to the Slaughter Questions and Answers
by Roald Dahl

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What is the theme of "Lamb to the Slaughter"?

Themes in "Lamb to the Slaughter" include jealousy, the unjust treatment of women, betrayal, love and passion, and identity.

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Lamb to the Slaughter” has several themes, but perhaps the most prominent and compelling is jealousy or, more precisely, the speed and intensity with which love can turn to hatred. Mary Maloney idolizes her husband. When he comes home, she waits on him devotedly and feels a sense of bliss merely because he is close to her:

She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel-almost as a sunbather feels the sun-that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were alone together.

When he tells her that he has decided to leave, however, Mary first experiences a sudden numbness. She feels nothing at all except a slight nausea. Then, equally suddenly, she walks up behind him and smashes a frozen leg of lamb as hard as she can against the back of his head. Her feelings as she does this are not described, and she does not seem to think about it until after she has done it. It is an automatic animal reaction of fury and jealousy at the knowledge that she is about to...

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werewolvesarereal13 | Student

I believe one of the themes of this story is devotion. Patricks devotion to his job and wanting a quiet devorse, not wanting it to get in the way of his work that he is ever devoted to. And Mary's devotion to her husband (until she snaps.) And her devotion to stick to her alibi and not get caught murdering her husband. That is why I believe that one of the most important themes of the story "Lambs to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl is devotion.

revolution | Student

The theme that it is the most important and relevant to the whole story is the theme "Betrayal", which the story tells of only one betrayal, which is the protagonist's husband, Patrick Maloney, who abruptly tells his pregnant wife that he is leaving, although he will still provide her with financial support. This unexplained marriage decision, which is underlying the importance of marriage vows. But there is still got more betrayals after that which is caused by her. Her richly thought of accomplice and convincing lies and fabrications to the detectives also constitute the theme of betrayal.

I think the protagonist is being symbolized as the lamb in the story (same name in the title- "Lamb to the Slaughter"), a weak and vulnerable lamb, always following her master's (husband's) order and commands until one day, he starts getting overboard and she could not take it anymore and killed him as a result. Her vulnerability had been exposed and to hide all that feelings and emotions, he had to killed her usual self and changed to another character, with a whole new perspective.