- Purchase/rental options available:
Irony often separates a work's author (or reader) from its characters. But irony can also engage our universal, adaptive capacity for perspective taking. In his twelfth-century romance Cligès, Chrétien de Troyes creates such an irony. Though medieval, it takes the form of a Gettier problem, a thought experiment from twentieth-century epistemology. Read closely, this irony can pump our intuition that we share the characters' ignorance. This intuition allows us to empathize with them, not emotionally but cognitively, taking on their worldview and realizing that we know things, or not, just as they do.