I'm sorry to resurrect a topic that was already discussed in this thread
, but it seems that the definition for MacGuffin
has not yet been fully clarified, especially not on this wiki.
I was under the impression that TV Tropes used the wider definition, one shared by the likes of George Lucas
, i.e. that a MacGuffin
is allowed to have applications beyond simply being desirable for the characters in story. This would permit such examples as the Death Star Plans
, the One Ring
, the Ark of the Covenant
or the Holy Grail
. In all of these cases, desire to possess and/or destroy them drives the plot and makes them MacGuffins
, but they all have practical applications and even help resolve the plot in the finale. The Sword of Plot Advancement
would also be a MacGuffin
according to this definition. The above thread seems to support this version, although it is slightly ambiguous.
However, there seem to be many here who stick by the narrower, "Hitchcockian" definition of a MacGuffin
. This would restrict the term to objects whose exact nature is almost entirely irrelevant to the story as a whole, and whose importance derives entirely
from their desirability. For the sake of context, my MacGuffin
entry on A New Hope
got deleted according to this definition, since the Death Star plans do
have an important inherent function in the third act, even if they had been a simple MacGuffin
up to this point.
What is the opinion here? Can a Macguffin have any functions beyond being a MacGuffin
No matter whether we go for the wider or the narrower definition, I suggest we create a new trope page for the definition we do not use, since I think both definitions have their place.