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I know that dramatic irony {Collins} is when the audience knows things the characters don't.

But what does one call it when the characters in a story know important information (which

(1) is to be revealed later or which

(2) the audience is expected to work out or which

(3) is, to the audience, a perceived mystery, and remains so)

that the audience does not?

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closed as not a real question by tchrist, RegDwigнt Apr 25 '13 at 14:26

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Suspense? Mystery? – coleopterist Mar 23 '13 at 6:30
Isn't that bound to be the case on a first viewing? (I assume we read 'relevant information' here, or it's certainly the case.) – Edwin Ashworth Mar 23 '13 at 8:53
How would one describe a movie like Memento? There may not be standard dramatic terms for every possible variant. – John Lawler Mar 23 '13 at 13:54
@EdwinAshworth no, sometimes it's a deliberate feature of storytelling that a character understands something, but the reader or viewer is kept in the dark, playing catchup, trying to piece together clues and subtext. Sometimes there's a reveal, sometimes the audience is expected to simply work it out, sometimes it's simply a mystery. It's not always a "suspense" or "mystery", e.g. it could be about comprehending a character's unfamiliar cultural situation. No idea why this question got such a bad reception. – user568458 Jan 19 at 11:22
To answer this needlessly abused question... it's sometimes called authorial reticence, usually in the context of leaving a viewer or reader in the dark about how a character's world works, but most often is simply referred to as "withholding information" (example). It can be called a mystery (assuming it's used to create mystery... common, but not always true) or "building to a reveal" (again, assuming it actually is...!). – user568458 Jan 19 at 11:37

Antonyms and opposites are hard to pin down (owing to the many nuances a single term can have), but literary omniscience might be close to what you're looking for.

Omniscient and Limited Omniscient Points of View
A narrator who knows everything about all the characters is all knowing, or omniscient.

A narrator whose knowledge is limited to one character, either major or minor, has a limited omniscient point of view.

{from Annenberg Learner.org}

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Limited omniscience. And they say grammar's crazy. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 23 '13 at 8:51
The "unreliable narrator" is a popular example of a "limited omniscience" perspective, where they're not only not aware of everything, but have a perspective that might be actively misleading the reader. But you can have dramatic irony and its opposite without any narrator – user568458 Jan 19 at 13:18

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