The use of irony can easily captivate us or excite us. Many times in order to understand the moral or theme of the story, you need to be able to recognize irony. In the short stories, â€œLamb to the Slaughterâ€ by Roald Dahl and â€œBy the Waters of Babylonâ€ by Stephen Vincent BenÃ©t we have fine examples of irony. In these Short stories we have similarities of both dramatic and situational irony.
Both stories have examples of dramatic irony, which is when the reader knows something that a character doesnâ€™t know. In â€œBy the Waters of Babylonâ€, a quote is â€œAll the same, when I came to the Place of the Gods, I was afraid, afraid.â€ (BenÃ©t Page 144). This shows that he believes that he is going to the Place if the Gods, while he is really only going to New York, the city of regular Americans. New York is the main location of this story, and the entire tribe believes that New York is the Place of the Gods. In â€œLamb to the Slaughterâ€, â€œThere was a great deal of hesitation among the four policemen, but they were clearly hungry, and in the end they were persuaded to go into the kitchen and help themselves.â€ (Dahl Page 324). The irony in this quote is clearly dramatic, because the policemen think that they are just eating a piece of meat that is definitely not the murder weapon, but in fact they are eating the murder weapon. They have obviously done one of the worst errors possible in this crime scene, and lost the pivotal evidence they need to find the killer, Mary, the wife of the victim. In both of these cases, some characters are left believing their own version of the story, while the fact is not with them. .
Another instance of irony practiced in both stories is situational irony, which is when what actually happens is the opposite of what is expected. In â€œLamb to the Slaughterâ€, â€œShe loved to luxuriate in the presence of this manâ€¦Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could.