deus ex machina

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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 SEC, like other government agencies, is in Stringham's view a deus ex machina, a "god from the machine.
To suggest that there is comes close to belief in a deus ex machina which is the centre of our consciousness and sense of self.
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.
Loony expedition ends with considerably less glory wandering the French countryside, and a deus ex machina intervention by Churchill's intelligence chief, Major Merton (Derek Jacobi, reliable).
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.
A deus ex machina is a person or thing that appears suddenly or unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty.