deus ex machina

(redirected from a deus ex machina)

deus ex machina

1. A god in an ancient Greek or Roman play that suddenly appears in the storyline in order to solve a problem or decide an outcome. The Latin phrase translates to "god from a machine," referring to the machinery that lowered it onto the stage. The ancient Greek play makes use of a deus ex machina in which Apollo arrives on stage to restore order among the other characters.
2. An ending in a performance or story that seems too contrived to be believable to the audience. Modern critics often pan 1980s-era television shows for the typical deus ex machina that writers often used to neatly wrap up episodes.
See also: ex
References in periodicals archive ?
The star, however, is the unassuming Jeff Clarke, a deus ex machina as deviser, stage director and musical director.
A deus ex machina revisited; Atlantic colonial trade and European economic development.
College and university presidents, buffeted by swirling pressures to control costs and improve the quality of learning, might well be dreaming of a deus ex machina to descend upon the quad.
Unfortunately the book loses its focus and power at the end, when the heroes are saved by a deus ex machina fierce dragon/earth-goddess won over by Berlewen's ability to show love for her enemies.
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.
Our mission is not to hunker down in some musty cave to await the stroke of a deus ex machina to save us.
Donne (1572-1631), the dean of England's school of metaphysical poetry (``he makes Shakespeare sound like a Hallmark card,'' Jason quips), presides over ``Wit'' like a deus ex machina.
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.
In the absence of a deus ex machina, context typically arbitrates what is and is not art.
And though you had prayed devoutly for Baker's arrival in June and July, you soon leaned there is no such thing as a deus ex machina.