Lamb to the Slaughter Questions and Answers
by Roald Dahl

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What is the meaning of the title of "Lamb to the Slaughter"?

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From the Holy Bible, Isaiah 53:7 says 

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 

The lamb represents any living being that is innocently being led to a bad situation; one which could even end his or her life. 

In Roald Dahl's short story "Lamb to the Slaughter," the protagonist is a woman whose life gravitates around her husband, a policeman. She admires him, pampers him, is a good housewife and, to top it all, she is heavily pregnant with their first child. 

The description of this woman suggests that she is vulnerable and innocent. She is dependent on her man. She does not work, for all we know, and her existence is based on the wants and needs of her husband. Still, one night after work, he tells her that he is leaving her, making her an innocent person entering a bad situation.

This piece of news is the trigger that leads Mary, the protagonist, to suddenly lose her mind. Without planning or scheming, she simply goes to the kitchen to cook her husband a leg of lamb. She takes it from the freezer and, almost automatically, she turns around and pounds her husband's head with it, killing him instantly. Was it blinding rage? We will never know. However, we do now this: this pregnant woman, whose life depended on the man she just killed, will face prison and perhaps even the death penalty if she is proven guilty. Then, she would be the lamb going to the slaughter. 

As such, Mary has to protect herself and conceal the weapon that killed Patrick. How does she do it? By feeding it to the policemen who come to the scene. She cooks the leg of lamb, feeds it to them, makes her weapon disappear. and, like the story shows, 

...in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle. 

We can argue that there are two innocent people...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 749 words.)

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