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
References in periodicals archive ?
Jewish literature often finds it necessary to deal with another type of god, the opposite, perhaps, of the deus ex machina.
Archbishop Peers, who presides as chair, broke the silence, noting that he has "heard these speeches and many like them over the years," said the house of bishops "is not a court" and should not wait "for the Archbishop of Canterbury or some deus ex machina to solve things.
As University of Vermont Professor Padraig Carmady writes, GEAR viewed FDI as a "development deus ex machina," believing that the investment would automatically flow in.
The state enters later, after the colonization of consciousness, after the damage has been done, a political deus ex machina to order the African world in the name of commerce, civilization and, ultimately, white supremacy.
Weir begins his analysis of the submarine as the deus ex machina of twentieth century, oceanographically determined maritime warfare with a New York meeting on antisubmarine warfare chaired by the inventor Thomas Alva Edison in March 1917.
The debate over the splitting of species, Mallet says, "is really about whether we need a deus ex machina or whether life itself can create the instabilities.
To the extent that Rousseau acknowledges the possibility of opposition, Rousseau must rely on the deus ex machina of the legislator, whose unchallenged authority is "at odds with a democratic ethos" (p.
It hopes against hope that mere tinkering and the deus ex machina of a private investment boom will solve its dilemmas for it.
Our mission is not to hunker down in some musty cave to await the stroke of a deus ex machina to save us.
What are we to make of the fact that, when the narrator intervenes as a deus ex machina at the end of the novel, his action ultimately proves futile?
In a strategy perfected by Hollywood studios (Frank Capra's Lost Horizon, for example, lost its first reel following a disastrous test screening), but unheard of in independent filmmaking, Paizs reshot the last reel of Crime Wave following negative reaction to its dark ending at Toronto's film festival, adding a deus ex machina and satirical, religious revelation.
The justice that triumphs in the end is poetic rather than political; the narrative does not indicate how, lacking a deus ex machina, one might recognize truth or virtue.