Additional\Sub-Questions: Do you enjoy the story more because of its use of dramatic irony? Why or why not?
Dramatic irony plays a strong role in Lamb to the Slaughter. It is ironic when the policeman eat the lamb chop and subsequently say, “It’s (the weapon) probably right under our noses”. Had she not so cleverly created an alibi for herself by going to the grocer and then cooking the lamb chop and having the policemen eat it, Mary Maloney would almost certainly be arrested at the end of the short story for murder. However, she is not arrested, and this is a very important factor in the short story as a whole, for it leads to a completely different outcome than it otherwise would have had. I would have to say that I, and probably most other readers, enjoyed the story more for its use of dramatic irony, simply because the ending would not have been as satisfying if she had been arrested. It would have been flat and cliché, but now, especially considering that back in the 1950s when it was written there weren’t many stories like it, it is unconventional and refreshing. Readers may end up frustrated at the policemen’s slight stupidity, and equally frustrated that a widow gets off scot-free for murder, but it is an enjoyable kind of frustration. So long as you are getting something out of it, the short story’s goal has been reached.