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Encyclopedia > Deus ex machina

The phrase deus ex machina ['de.ʊs eks 'maːkʰi.naː] (literally "god out of a machine") describes an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot (e.g. an angel suddenly appearing to solve problems). // deus ex machina is most well-known as a Latin term referring to a simplistic technique of resolving a plot Deus Ex Machinae (music album) The Deus Ex Machina Cycle, an album by Elodie Lauten Deus Ex Machina (band), an Italian Jazz-Rock band http://www. ... This article is about the supernatural being. ...


Linguistic considerations

The Latin phrase "deus ex machina" has its origins in the conventions of Greek tragedy. It refers to situations in which a mechane (crane) was used to lower actors playing a god or gods onto the stage. Though the phrase is accurately translated as "God from a machine," in literary criticism, it is often translated to "God on a machine."[citation needed] The machine referred to in the phrase is the crane employed in the task. It is a calque from the Greek 'από μηχανής θεός' ápo mēchanēs theós, (pronounced in Ancient Greek [a po' mɛ:kʰa'nɛ:s tʰe'os]). dEUS is an indie rock band based in Antwerp, Belgium, currently consisting of Tom Barman (vocals and guitar), Klaas Janzoons (keyboards and violin), Stéphane Misseghers (drums), Alan Gevaert (bass) and Mauro Pawlowski (guitar and vocals). ... A mechane was a crane used in Greek theatre, especially in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Made of wooden beams and pulley systems, the device was used to lift an actor into the air, usually representing flight. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... // In linguistics, a calque (pronounced ) or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word (Latin: verbum pro verbo) or root-for-root translation. ... This chart shows concisely the most common way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is applied to represent the English language. ...

The Greek tragedian Euripides is notorious for using this plot device as a means to resolve a hopeless situation. For example, in Euripides' play Alcestis, the eponymous heroine agrees to give up her own life to Death in exchange for sparing the life of her husband, Admetus. In doing so, however, she imposes upon him a series of extreme promises. Admetus is torn between choosing death or choosing to obey these unreasonable restrictions. In the end, though, Heracles shows up and seizes Alcestis from Death, restoring her to life and freeing Admetus from the promises. The first person known to have criticized the device was Aristotle in his Poetics, where he argued that the resolution of a plot must arise internally, following from previous action of the play. For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... A statue of Euripides. ... Alcestis is one of the earliest surviving works of the Greek playwright Euripides. ... An eponym is a person (real or fictitious) whose name has become identified with a particular object or activity. ... Hercules, a Roman bronze (Louvre Museum) For other uses, see Heracles (disambiguation). ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Aristotles Poetics aims to give an account of poetry. ...

Modern uses

The phrase has been extended to refer to any resolution to a story that does not pay due regard to the story's internal logic and is so unlikely that it challenges suspension of disbelief, allowing the author to conclude the story with an unlikely, though more palatable, ending. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

In modern terms the deus ex machina has also come to describe a being, object or event that suddenly appears and solves a seemingly insoluble difficulty, where the author has "painted the characters into a corner" that they can't easily be extricated from (e.g. the cavalry unexpectedly coming to the rescue, or James Bond using a gadget that just so happens to be perfectly suited to the needs of the situation). Flemings image of James Bond; commissioned to aid the Daily Express comic strip artists. ...

Other examples are seen in Dante Alighieri's Inferno when a mysterious personage (variously identified) "sent from Heaven" clears the path of fallen angels and opens the gates of Dis for Dante and Virgil to pass; and in Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain, where the titular deadly virus is rendered harmless by random mutation. The device is a type of twist ending. A recent example of this occurs in the film adaptation of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code, where a bird is seen to disturb the killer just before he shoots the lead character, thus giving him the opportunity to flee. Dante in a fresco series of famous men by Andrea del Castagno, ca. ... Detail of a manuscript in Milans Biblioteca Trivulziana (MS 1080), written in 1337 by Francesco di ser Nardo da Barberino, showing the beginning of Dantes Comedy. ... This page may meet Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... For other uses, see Virgil (disambiguation). ... Michael Crichton, pronounced [1], (born October 23, 1942) is an American author, film producer, film director, and television producer. ... The Andromeda Strain (1969) is a techno-thriller novel by Michael Crichton. ... A twist ending or surprise ending is an unexpected conclusion or climax to a work of fiction, which may contain an irony, or cause the audience to reevaluate the rest of the story. ... Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the controversial 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. ... This article is about the novel. ...

The notion of deus ex machina can also be applied to a revelation within a story that causes seemingly unrelated sequences of events to be joined together. Thus the unexpected and timely intervention is aimed at the meaning of the story rather than a physical event in the plot. This may more accurately be described as a plot twist. A Plot twist is a change (twist) in the direction or expected outcome of the plot of a film or novel. ...

In Naruto the Abridged Series, when knocking Naruto into Sasuke (creating the kiss scene), Tobio yelled "Deus ex Machina!"

See also

  Results from FactBites:
What does Deus Ex Machina Mean? (507 words)
The phrase deus ex machina is a Latin theatrical term meaning "god from a machine", although many sources translate machina as the crane used to lower actors to the stage.
Deus ex machina is the introduction of a contrived character, often a god or goddess, into a play in order to miraculously rescue the hero or resolve a complicated plotline.
Over time, the deus ex machina plot device expanded to include any number of characters suddenly introduced for the sole purpose of resolving a complicated plotline.
Deus ex machina (1539 words)
Deus ex machina is Latin for "god from the machine" and is a calque from the Greek "από μηχανής θεός", (pronounced "apo mekhanes theos").
The phrase deus ex machina has been extended to refer to any resolution to a story which does not pay due regard to the story's internal logic and is so unlikely it challenges suspension of disbelief, and presumably allows the author to end it in the way he or she wanted.
Deus ex Machinae is also the name of the first album released by the SID metal band Machinae Supremacy.
  More results at FactBites »



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