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 ?
All night the Little Admiral hung from a beam directly above Michael's increasingly squiffy head on a thread, a deus ex machina peering down with detached amusement on the insomniac crew and their games of double bluff and murderous camaraderie.
The SEC, like other government agencies, is in Stringham's view a deus ex machina, a "god from the machine." Stringham explains that the deus ex machina plot device "is named for Greek plays that used gods played by actors suspended on cranes to suddenly solve characters' problems" In many social science and policy debates, he writes, "theorists think of potential problems and assume government can solve them" Those who advocate government enforcement rarely explain why they think that governments will have the incentives or the information to do their job well.
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.
But this telepic melodrama is interrupted by a deus ex machina that ends act one with the star's purported onstage death.
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.
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. Baker has no magic powers.
A deus ex machina is a person or thing that appears suddenly or unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty.