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 ?
The first relates to the state to which the public have assigned the role of deus ex machina.
This includes efforts to reconstruct the wooden deus ex machina cranes.
And the brilliant all-star cast included two relative newcomers to Broadway, if you can count the well-known best friend of "Harry Potter'' -- redheaded Rupert Grint, in the role of a tantrum-prone British director (he is marvelous) and the deus ex machina of the play, Micah Stock, whose daunting humorless performance moves the plot forward and causes him to be referred to as "the Eve Harrington'' character from "All About Eve.
South of downtown, Thalia Surf Shop features wetsuits and surf gear from small independent brands like Matuse, Deus Ex Machina, and Poler.
The book draws some metaphors from classical Greek tragedy, and is divided into three sections: governance, judgment, and citizenship, with a concluding chapter on the bureaucratic machine and the idea of deus ex machina.
Fingered for their murder he's arrested and charged, but gets the chance to go on the run and clear his name when the police van carrying him overturns - a deus ex machina moment that, once again, bore more than passing resemblance to a key scene from that other show.
In "Killer Whale," an orca appears out of nowhere, emphasizing the author's ability to inject magical realism into his stories while simultaneously breathing new life into the usually trite trope of the deus ex machina.
No "deus ex machina", says finance minister Speaking at the same conference, the Minister of Finance, Haris Georgiades, said that there will be no deus ex machina for the Cyprus economy.
Summary: When the ancient Greek or Roman playwrights had painted themselves into a corner, plotwise, they sometimes resorted to the device known as the deus ex machina, in which one of the gods was hoisted over the stage and dropped in to resolve the otherwise inchoate drama.
The show didn't hit every high note: The much-touted appearance of Shirley MacLaine proved to be all too brief (though she'll be back next season) and the odd financial insolvency of Downton, and deus ex machina "solution" of a sudden inheritance by Matthew, who was then oddly reluctant to use it to save Downton, felt strained.
Besides, Anne Hunsaker Hawkins believes that the very deus ex machina in Sophocles's Philoctetes cannot be taken merely as an expedient modus operandi; alternatively, we had better pay due attention to the ethical and tragic dimensions of the play (356).
Among their topics are one African genealogy of dangerous things, deus ex machina and other theatrical interventions of the supernatural, how the common practice of counting one's beads reveals its secrets in the Muslim communities of North Cameroon, the affective power of the face veil between disgust and fascination, and online gaming between spiritual experience and commodity fetishism.