Lamb of The Slaughter Mary Maloney Character

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About this sample


Words: 669 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 669|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Mary Maloney, the protagonist of Roald Dahl's short story "Lamb to the Slaughter," is a complex character with a range of traits that contribute to her overall portrayal. In this essay, we will explore these character traits and analyze their implications within the context of the story. By examining her actions, thoughts, and interactions with others, we can gain a deeper understanding of Mary Maloney's character and the impact it has on the narrative.

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One of the key character traits exhibited by Mary Maloney is her initial portrayal as a loving, devoted wife. From the very beginning of the story, Dahl paints a picture of a woman who takes pride in her role as a homemaker. The author describes her as a "warm-hearted," with a voice that was "soft, slow, and gentle." This depiction of Mary as a nurturing and caring individual sets the stage for the events that follow.

Another important aspect of Mary Maloney's character is her ability to adapt and think on her feet. When her husband, Patrick, breaks the news that he wants to leave her, Mary's first instinct is to deny the reality of the situation. She is unable to accept the fact that her marriage is falling apart, and instead of confronting her husband, she tries to maintain the status quo. This initial reaction shows us that Mary is not one to easily give up or accept defeat.

However, it is in the aftermath of Patrick's murder that Mary's character undergoes a significant transformation. Instead of crumbling under the weight of her actions, she displays a remarkable level of composure and resourcefulness. For instance, when the police arrive at her house to investigate the crime, Mary quickly formulates a plan to divert suspicion away from herself. She cleverly uses the frozen leg of lamb that she used to kill her husband as the murder weapon, cooking it and serving it to the officers as a way to destroy the evidence.

This demonstrates Mary's ability to think quickly and act decisively, even in the face of extreme circumstances. It also highlights her cunning and ability to manipulate others to achieve her desired outcome. Mary's actions in this instance can be seen as a reflection of her desperation to protect herself and her unborn child, as well as her determination to maintain the facade of the perfect housewife.

In addition to her adaptability and resourcefulness, Mary Maloney also exhibits a darker side to her character. While she appears to be a loving and devoted wife on the surface, there is an underlying sense of anger and resentment that emerges throughout the story. This is evident in her thoughts and actions following the murder of her husband.

For example, after committing the crime, Mary experiences a sense of liberation and empowerment. She feels a surge of confidence and takes control of the situation by meticulously cleaning up the evidence and crafting an alibi. This suggests that Mary may have harbored deep-seated frustrations and pent-up emotions that were ultimately unleashed by her husband's betrayal.

Furthermore, Mary's decision to kill her husband with a leg of lamb can be seen as a symbolic act of rebellion against the patriarchal expectations placed upon her. By using a domestic item associated with her role as a housewife, Mary subverts societal norms and asserts her agency. This act of violence, albeit extreme, can be interpreted as a manifestation of her suppressed rage and a desire to break free from the confines of her traditional gender role.

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In conclusion, Mary Maloney is a multi-faceted character whose traits and actions have significant implications for the overall narrative of "Lamb to the Slaughter." Her initial portrayal as a loving wife and her subsequent transformation into a cunning and resourceful murderer highlight her adaptability and determination. At the same time, her darker side and act of rebellion against societal expectations provide insight into her complex psyche. By examining these character traits and their implications, we gain a deeper understanding of Mary Maloney's role in the story and the broader themes that Dahl explores.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Lamb Of The Slaughter Mary Maloney Character. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“Lamb Of The Slaughter Mary Maloney Character.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
Lamb Of The Slaughter Mary Maloney Character. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
Lamb Of The Slaughter Mary Maloney Character [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
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