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English help, please. - Printable Version

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English help, please. - Lordi465 - 09-07-2010 10:01 AM

I need to write an essay about why the short story "Lamb to the slaughter" (Roald Dahl) is a dark comedy.
All i need is for you to give me examples of why it is a dark comedy.

Re: English help, please. - Raikuron - 09-07-2010 12:46 PM

It is a comedy of dark humor.

RE: English help, please. - sillysparrowness - 10-01-2011 04:02 AM

It is dark, because we're talking about murder. And a woman getting away with it.

The comedy comes from the fact that her plan is working: (1) the policemen eat the murder weapon (2) whilst talking about how they need to find the murder weapon, and then it'll be easy to catch the murderer.
Dahl dwells on that by having them repeatedly make remarks about how it'll be easy to find it and then drawing the conclusion that the weapon is probably right under their very noses (it is!) It makes the policemen look very silly and pathetic - mocking is also a form of humour.
Also, humourous effects are often caused by some sort of surprise. When the woman hits her husband with the frozen leg of lamb, the reader doesn't see the end immediately. The weapon of choise seems a bit silly, too domestic, too unusual. Only later it dawns on the reader that this was a perfect choice for a murder weapon. This realisation, when it comes as a surprise can have a comic effect as well, because it's ironic: The weapon seems improvised (or is) but turns out to be the perfcet plan, even if it was unvoluntarily. Oh irony.