Deus Ex Machina

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Deus Ex Machina

 

(Latin for “god from a machine”), a dramaturgical and stage device in ancient Greek theater in which a divinity suddenly appears on stage, which leads to the denouement. His intervention resolved the conflict at the root of the tragedy and determined the fate of the heroes. A special lifting machine—the aiorema —helped perform the deus ex machina. Sophocles’ tragedy Philoctetes made use of this device, as did Euripides’ tragedies Helen, Hippolytus, Iphigenia in Tauris, Ion, and Electra, among others.

In a figurative sense the expression deus ex machina applies to the unexpected resolution of any sort of conflict.

deus ex machina

improbable agent introduced to solve a dilemma. [Western Drama: LLEI, I: 279]
See: Miracle