Lamb To The Slaughter Essay
What was the last mistake you made that really ruined things for you? In the short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, Mary Maloney the protagonist is seen as the average house wife living, until she murders her husband, Patrick Maloney, a police officer with a frozen leg of lamb. Mary discovers about a divorce her husband wanted and acted upon it killing him.
Mary Maloney’s personality traits such as her cleverness to fool the cops to believe what she says, her loyalty to make her seem as an unsuspicious suspect, and lastly being observant knowing when she should make a decision, help her get away with killing her husband making her the perfect example of a successful murderer. Mary Maloney’s cleverness is shown when she convinces the police officers to believe she was not home at the time of the murder, when she cries in the in front of police officers and when she calls police officer for help whom knows her.
After Mary Maloney kills her husband with the leg of lamb she then puts it into the oven to cook and goes to the groceries, “She told how she’d put the meat in the oven-‘it’s there now, cooking’- and how she’d slopped out to the grocer for vegetables” (Dahl 6). Mary quickly goes to the grocery store to make it seem as if she were not home, and so when the police officers came and asked questions it would be true that she really did go to the grocers and did not lie also hiding the murder weapon.
These actions display Mary’s cleverness on how she can get away with murder and hide the murder weapon without being caught. The second instance Mary displays her cleverness is when Mary came home from the grocers and pretended to cry after seeing her husband dead, “she ran over to him, knelt down beside him, and began to cry her heart out. ” (Dahl 5). Mary had cried at the scene of the crime making it look like as if it was a surprise to her and she was sad even though she was not.
This helps her get away with murder for when the police came to the scene of the crime they saw that she was there crying and was not suspicious. This shows how she is clever by crying to fool the officers into believing she did not kill her husband. Lastly in an analysis of the short story by Anthony Bernardo when Mary Maloney calls the police for help two officer in which she knows respond to the call “Two police officers arrive at the house both who know Mary themselves” (Bernardo 2). Mary calls upon police officer in which know her personally to come to the crime scene.
Mary is clever enough to call people she can trust will not have any suspicion to her being a murderer resulting in her getting away with the crime. Mary Maloney’s Cleverness to get rid of the murder weapon and fool the cops into believing she cannot be a suspect helps her get away with murder also making her the perfect example of a successful murderer. Mary Maloney’s loyalty is shown when she prepares the house for the arrival of her husband when he comes home, when she asks for the officer to eat the leg of lamb in the oven, and going insane after hearing what her husband says.
Mary Maloney prepares her house how she normally does for her husband’s arrival from work, “The room was warm and clean, the curtains draw, the two table lamps alight-her and one by the empty chair opposite. On the sideboard behind her, two tall glasses, soda water, whiskey” (Dahl 1). Mary Maloney is shown as the average house mother who is loyal to her husband and is not capable of murder or even getting away with it. These actions make her seem as if she is not to be suspicious of after she does kill her husband and help her get away with murder.
The second instance where Mary Maloney is shown as loyal is when she realizes her husband is in a bad mood and tries to make it up to him, “If you’re too tired to eat out,’ she went on, ‘it’s still not too late. There’s plenty of meat and stuff in the freezer, and you can have it right here and not even move out of the chair” (Dahl 1). Mary Maloney it’s brought out as a loving and caring character and so when the police officers come to investigate they will already have background information on how Mary Maloney treats her husband and their relationship.
These actions help Mary become less suspicious of being the killer and lets her get away with the murder of her husband. Lastly in a analysis done by Kimmel Leigh after Mary had found out that her husband was having an affair she chooses to ignore what he said “Still she clings to her illusion of happy domesticity, telling him she will fix supper “(Leigh 1). Mary Maloney finds out her husband wants an affair but chooses to ignore what he said showing she really did care for her husband. Mary’s loyalty towards her husband makes her feel in denial and when she kills him she acts out of anger and without esitation.
These actions help her get away with murder because she is inhuman at the time. Mary Maloney’s loyalty when she prepares her house for the arrival of her husband, when she tries and please her husband and killing her husband with insanity help her become unsuspicious of murder allowing her to get away with it making her the perfect example of a successful murderer. Finally Mary Maloney shows she is persuasive when she notices the officers are hungry, when she practices what she will say to the grocer and when called the police for help.
When the police were at her house investigating Mary noticed they were hungry and made them eat the leg of lamb in the oven, “Why don’t you eat up that lamb that is in the oven” (Dahl 7). The protagonist convinces them to eat the leg of lamb and in doing so she gets rid of the murder weapon. Mary’s persuasion allows her to get rid of the murder weapon and get away with murder. Furthermore before Mary goes to the grocery store she practices in the mirror what she will say to the grocer so she does not look suspicious, “She sat down before the mirror, tidied her hair, touched up her lips and face.
She tried a smile. It came out rather peculiar. She tried again” (Dahl 14). Mary practices what she will say to the grocer so she can convince him into thinking there is nothing wrong with her and everything at home is well. This helps her persuade the prime suspect of the murder to think she is innocent which helps her get away with the murder of her husband. Lastly in Anthony Bernardo’s analysis Mary Maloney calls the police with a persuasive tone “Mary Maloney then calls the police station with a frantic voice” (Bernardo 2).
Mary Maloney sounds as if she is scared and in distress so the police officers have a feeling that she is not a suspect since she sounds as if she is in a lot of grief. This helps Mary become less suspicious as the murderer helping her get away with the death of her husband. Mary Maloney’s persuasion when she notices the officers are hungry, when she practices what she will say to the grocer and when she calls the police for help allow her to get away with murder and also make her the perfect example of a successful murderer.
In the short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl the protagonist Mary Maloney’s personality traits such as her cleverness to fool the cops to believe what she says, her loyalty to make her seen as an unsuspicious suspect, and lastly being observant knowing when she should make a decision, help her get away with the murder of her husband Patrick Maloney after finding out about their divorce, making her the perfect example of a successful murderer.