Chekhov’s gun

The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov famously said, “One must not put a loaded rifle on stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” What does this mean? Let’s dive deeper into the concept and understand it with an example.

Chekhov’s gun is a principle that suggests every element or detail shown in a story should have some significance. If an insignificant object, character, or piece of information is introduced early in the story, it should become relevant later in the film.

Let’s consider the film “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” In the beginning, there is a brief scene where Harry Potter receives an invisibility cloak as a gift. Initially, this may seem like a minor detail. However, as the story progresses, the invisibility cloak gains importance.

The invisibility cloak plays a vital role in Harry’s adventure, allowing him to sneak around and uncover secrets. Its introduction early in the film is a perfect example of Chekhov’s gun. It creates an expectation for the audience that this seemingly ordinary item will have relevance later in the story, increasing their anticipation and engagement with the movie.

So, that was Chekhov’s gun in a nutshell. I hope you understand its significance and can use it best in your future work.