In Greek theatre, a deus ex machina was the sudden and unexpected intervention of one or more deities into a situation.
It literally means “god from the machine,” which is often used to describe any improbable event that saves someone in an otherwise hopeless circumstance.
A deus ex machina may be created by either a writer’s deliberate use of untrue coincidence or simply as an unanticipated rescue device.
The term is also used to refer to an actor who has been lowered onto the stage by wires from offstage, during moments when there doesn’t seem to be any way for him/her to enter naturally through the proscenium arch.
This technique came about because actors were traditionally forbidden entrance on stage while wearing their masks and costumes.
DEUS EX MACHINA
What Is Deus Ex Machina?
A Deus ex Machina is an artificial or improbable device, which suddenly and unexpectedly solves a seemingly unsolvable problem.
The term comes from the Latin expression “deus ex machina” meaning “god out of the machine.”
It was traditionally used in ancient Greek theater to refer to a crane on stage that lowered actors playing gods onto the stage at dramatic moments in the play.
The use of this plot device has been criticized by many as breaking realism in storytelling because it removes any element of suspense and often feels like cheating.
Definition Of Deus Ex Machina
The term Deus Ex Machina is used in dramatic arts to refer to an unforeseen and often implausible event that suddenly provides a solution or otherwise resolves all of the difficulties of the protagonist’s situation.
This typically occurs when all hope seems lost for the protagonist.
A deus ex machina is a literary term referring to the use of an improbable event or character that appears suddenly and unexpectedly in order to resolve something which has been previously difficult.
This plot device is often used as a means of making things end more satisfactorily, but it can also be seen as a way for writers to avoid resolving problems with existing characters or situations.
Deus Ex Machina Explained
The term has since been used to describe any event or occurrence that appears as if by magic or chance – usually to rescue someone from a difficult situation.
A deus ex machina is an unexpected or unlikely solution to an apparently unsolvable problem that suddenly appears and solves all of the issues.
In literature, this refers to when a plot device abruptly comes out of nowhere and saves all of the characters in their time of need.
What Is Deus Ex Machina?
This term was coined by Aristotle in his Poetics to refer to how ancient Greek theater would suddenly have a statue appear, or some other device, that resolved all conflicts.
In Greek tragedy, a deus ex machina is an unexpected intervention by some person or thing that saves the protagonist from impending danger.
In literature, it refers to any improbable event which dramatically solves a seemingly unsolvable problem.
History And Etymology For Deus Ex Machina
The term literally means “god from the machine” and was originally used in ancient Greek theatre when a crane would be lowered onto the stage to bring actors playing gods onstage to resolve difficult situations.
In modern days, we see this often in Hollywood movies as well as other forms of media.
The use of a deus ex machina has been criticized by many scholars who believe it leads audiences to imagine that all solutions will come about easily and without effort.
The word “Deus ex machina” is Latin for “god from the machine.” The term was coined by Cicero in his play, “Laelius de Amicitia,” which translates to Lelius on Friendship.
In this work, Cicero uses it as a metaphor for an unexpected and improbable event that saves someone or something. It can also be used to describe any event that comes out of nowhere and changes everything about a situation.
Deus Ex Machina – Most Famous Examples
Let’s look at some classic Deus Ex Machina examples from popular films.
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter is full of magical Deus Ex Machinas that are suddenly introduced exactly when they are needed for the plot, but none are more glaring than at the end of Chamber of Secrets.
When all looks to be over for Harry and Ginny, Faux the Phoenix flies down into the chamber and gives Harry the sorting hat with the Sword of Gryffindor allowing him to kill the Basilisk, cries on him so that he doesn’t die, and flies them out of the chamber so they aren’t all stuck down there.
A triple-threat of Deus Ex Machina from a very minor, non-human character.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)
The Return of the King houses one of the biggest Deus Ex Machina moments in cinema.
The eagles are particularly prominent in their life-saving abilities throughout much of Tolkien’s work, after all.
Devoted Lord of the Rings fans will be quick on the draw to attempt to explain why this wasn’t possible, but there is no reason concrete enough as to why the Eagles only show up at the last possible moment.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The third installment of The Matrix franchise has a major Deus Ex Machina moment when it looks like the main character Neo is going to lose to his enemy Agent Smith.
Neo pleads with a machine, literally called Deus Ex Machina, to kill Agent Smith to save the entire Matrix world.
The Deus Ex Machina machine suddenly shows up and fixes everything Neo had been trying to solve in the movie.