Betrayal, Justice And Passivity In Roald Dahl's "Lamb To The Slaughter"

887 words - 4 pages

Roald Dahl, a British novelist, offered his readers a classical short story, “ Lamb to the Slaughter,” with the tale of betrayal, justice, injustice and passivity. Two main characters of the story are detective Mr. Patrick and Ms. Patrick who live in small town. Roald Dahl tries to reflect human nature of perversity, and cruelty through the “ Lamb to the Slaughter”. As the story progresses, theme of love, passion, betrayal and injustice grow stronger. Author smartly shows us how an idle wife becomes a smart criminal to take the revenge of her betrayal and successes to trick officers.
As the first paragraph is introduced, Roald Dahl develops an image of Mrs. Patrick Maloney as an idle housewife. Description of the living room reflects the systematic nature of her. Table, set up for her husband with two glasses and a wine bottle proves her skill in arranging items. Roald Dahl describes her as she had “slow smiling air”(Dahl) and “ tranquil body”(Dahl). Her image of a gorgeous and smart housewife gives a reason to her husband to adore her. Along with the sophisticated housewife, Author portrays Mrs. Maloney a passionate lover as well. In the beginning of the story, Mary feels passion and love for her husband. Her description of placid looking eyes and soft mouth, and her six-month pregnancy makes us to think of her calm and caring nature. “She laid aside her sewing, stood up, and went forward to kiss him as he came in” (Dahl) refers how energetic and passionate she is about arrival of her husband, even though she is caring a six month old baby. In the story, Roald Dahl had described every little move of her before Mr. Maloney’s arrival. After her husband’s arrival, she, like always, make a glass of whisky for her husband exactly how he wanted. Every single detail of her movement and enthusiastic service of her husband strongly builds respect for her in our mind. Thus, Author greatly described 1960s housewife as loving, passionate and energetic for her husband.
Author also surprises readers, when he introduces conflict between a couple that used to love each other deeply. Diverting the story from love to betrayal, author develops an irony. In the story, reader sees two examples of betrayal. Ms. Maloney, while talking with her tired husband, finds out her husband no longer want to keep their marriage. Without giving any kind of reason, Patrick betrays her wife with a decision of breaking marriage. Mary shocks, when her husband, boldly, says, “ This is going to be bit shock of you”(P. Maloney) Author creates a total opposite picture of Patrick by describing him as...

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