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In my English class we're reading the book Lamb to the Slaughter. The class is required to make five annotations about events in the book; I want to label an event as ironic, but I'm stuck as to whether it is coincidental or ironic.

The event which happens is a man is killed with a lamb leg, and when the police come to investigate the criminal has cooked the lamb and offers it to the police as they have been hard at work. Is it irony or coincidental that the police ate the exact murder weapon they were searching for?

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  • It certainly was not a coincidence. And it was not ironic. As far as I recall this story the murder weapon was a frozen leg of lamb, and the murderer intended the evidence to be eaten. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 22:15
  • I appreciate the help :)
    – Jay S.
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 22:38
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    It's what we call delicious irony <gd&r> Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 8:03

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Jay,

This is not coincidental, as coincidence is defined as "events that happen at the same time by accident," or "without a causal connection." In this case, there is a clear causal connection.

This could be considered a specific type of irony: Dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is a type of irony where the audience of a play, or the reader of a story, "understand the implications of a situation," but a character or characters do not understand.

In the story, you as a reader understand that the police are eating the murder weapon, consuming a key piece of evidence they are trying to collect, the police (characters) do not. In this case, I would argue, and I think you could argue, that it does not necessarily matter that one of the characters (the murderer) knows and has caused the situation.

This event is ironic.

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