Chekhov’s MacGuffin

08.29.2014 § Leave a comment

As a MacGuffin, would have to be:
  1. an object whose inherent nature is irrelevant, and which
  2. functions as a place-holding constant driving goal of the plot.

However, as a Chekhov’s thing, it must both:

  1. eventually have the effect of its inherent nature executed on, and
  2. besides the two moments of first its initial mentioning and then its ultimate use, be otherwise left unaddressed.

So on both aspect 1 and aspect 2, MacGuffins and Chekhov’s things are exactly opposites.

Also, I just like how it sounds, since “MacGuffin” has the same phonetic ‘guh’ sound as “gun”. Plus the juxtaposition of Chekhov being such a Russian name and MacGuffin being such a Scottish name is amusing, too.



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