Deus ex Machina


142 comments posted
Reply to comment | Literary Devices

I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

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Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 11/26/2013 - 16:49
Deus ex Machina in potter

i think the final harry potter book uses Deus ex Machina because harry just so happens to find the sword of gryfondor (thats spelled wrong) lieing in a pool and when he tries to get it and nearly kills himself ron just shows up and saves him...

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 01/04/2013 - 05:12
Deus ex Machina in potter

Isn't it told that Snape put the Sword of Gryffindor into the lake as we see a doe patronus guiding Harry to the lake and it's later revealed that Snape's patronus was a doe.

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 02/21/2014 - 23:29
I don't know. None of the

I don't know. None of the things just "happen", it just appears that way because we don't know how they came about yet (what role the Hallows play, where the Sword of Gryffindor came from, etc.). Just because Dumbledore's plan is complex and essentially unrevealed until the last second doesn't make it deus ex machina.

There is a difference between a character who needs a weapon just looking into a hollow tree stump and "surprise" there's a sword, and a character finding a sword by surprise (to him and the reader), but the reader learning how it came to be there later in the book (as with the Sword fo Gryffindor).

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 00:02
Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 11/22/2012 - 20:31

People were really disappointed in the ending of the final Hunger Games book, because everything is suddenly resolved and perfect like Suzanne Collins didn't even try. I have to agree, but I don't mind it so much.

Also, I still have NO idea how to pronounce this!

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 10/26/2012 - 16:44
The correct pronunciation

It's actually pronounced, "DAY-oos ex MAK-in-ah." It's Latin, so almost every letter is pronounced, except for the H, which is silent. That's how it works in Spanish, at least, and Spanish is heavily rooted in Latin. I may be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that's how it's pronounced.

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 01/12/2014 - 00:19

As a Latin student, you are correct (unless we're talking of church Latin which is different). It's rough meaning, as I'm sure most have figured out, is God within the 'Machine'.

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 03/27/2014 - 07:22

doos-eks-makinuh (correct me if I'm wrong)

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 10/13/2013 - 04:10
One Exception

Deus ex Machina can be used, successfully, in one exception-when the D.E.M. is central to the story. Typically, though, it requires a fantastical element to the story.
Some examples would be Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rose Madder and Under The Dome by Stephen King, and Weaveworld by Clive Barker.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 06/05/2012 - 18:42
Anime example

Mirai Nikki has a great example

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 05/16/2012 - 04:38

I'm watching Mirai Nikki right now is it good???

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 10/29/2014 - 08:05
deus ex machina and mirrai nikki

The guy who created the survival game in mirrai nikki literally is called deus ex machina

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 06/24/2013 - 17:35

True true true XD You are very right :)

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 10/10/2012 - 21:36

There is a lot of Deux ex Machina in mythology. Heroes in Greek mythology are supposedly able to lift tons of rock or complete impossible challenges, and the only explanation for these feats would be godly intervention. This theory is probably what made ancient Egyptians believe that magicians could use the gods' power to perform miracles and spells. Same goes for Christanity and Jesus' miracles.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 05/08/2012 - 22:22
Not good examples.

The feats of strength of mythological Greek heroes or the miracles of Jesus do not necessarily constitute Deus ex Machina. In the case of Christianity, Jesus, as a manifestation of God, is imbued with God's powers. The ability to perform miracles is part of his nature. A Greek hero such as Hercules has immense strength due to his divine parentage.

Deus ex Machina is a bit different. If an otherwise normal person trapped on a burning, sinking ship suddenly sprouts wings and flies to safety, for no apparent reason and with no precedent for this sort of thing happening in the story, that is Deus ex Machina. If Jesus raises the dead or Hercules performs a seemingly impossible feat of strength, it is assumed to be part of their divine nature; one is a demigod while the other, again, is a manifestation of God. Their natures being known to the reader provides a logical explanation for their miraculous actions.

An unexpected occurrence that resolves a problem isn't automatically Deus ex Machina. Deus ex Machina is identifiable by being completely out of place, unprecedented, or unjustifiable within the context of the story.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 22:11
Good example

In triumph of caesar it ends with the main character seeing the future if he failed and caesar did get asassinated, but then it rewinded and he was able to save the day and figure out who the bad guy was without doing any real detective work... Great series but bummer ending :(

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 05/02/2012 - 03:14
Another example, mostly for the Brits...

Steven Moffat is freaking ADDICTED to deus ex machina.

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 04/16/2012 - 23:51

*Cough* the impossible girl *cough*

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 06/02/2013 - 20:21

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 08/06/2012 - 04:11
Lord of the Flies

I thought that the ending of Lord of the Flies was a sort of deus ex machina, because the army guy apeared out of nowhere to rescue them...

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 04/10/2012 - 04:37
Not Quite

When Simon's crew set the island's forest on fire it showed the sailor to where the boys were. When the boys are at their worst point, society re-initializes and they return to their conditioned, civilized manner. The ending is meant to be abrupt for that reason: to highlight the juxtaposition between a society that imploded (no good structure) and a society that can save the boys (adults). The reader does tend to wonder, though...Who will save the adults from the war and from themselves?

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 04/12/2013 - 09:30
I don't think that was so

I don't think that was so much put in as rescue (or deus ex machina) as to provide a contrast. It was anarchy meets discipline, wilderness meets civilization. Now, if the whole island had been blown up or sunk into the sea, yeah, I would call deus ex machina on it.

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 07/30/2012 - 04:37
Watership Down

One of the final chapters of Watership Down by Richard Adams is titled "Dea ex Machina" because in it Hazel the rabbit is saved from a cat by a young girl who picks him up, has him patched up by a doctor, and drives him to a field and lets him go.

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 01/21/2012 - 20:37
Some history

god of machine.... exactly how this term originated. The Greeks used a crane-like machine to "fly" the actors in who were playing the roles of gods.

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 05:02
Latin not Greek

Deus ex Machina is Latin not Greek so I'm not sure how well that origination works.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 18:25

Deus ex machina actually means "god FROM (the) machine". The phrase "of machine" is "machinae".

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 05/31/2013 - 02:08
Ex is also "out of"

Ex can also be translated "out of". "God out of Machine"

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 18:27
The final battle in Ivanhoe

The final battle in Ivanhoe comes to mind, where literally God smites the evil knight.

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/11/2011 - 23:49
better example :)

Like in Monty Python's Life of Brian, when Brian falls from a tower he is saved by a bypassing UFO... right? That is Deus ex Machina or whatever it is isn't it? Except that it's funny in its randomness... I don't know.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 13:20
Comes from..

it really comes from when plays performed the only way to resolve a conflict was to have a god or holy spirit come down from a machine to save all. notice Deux ex machina=god of machine. was used in mostly religious plays but it is now used more loosely

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 09/11/2011 - 16:53
ex =/= of

'ex' is Latin for 'out of' or 'from', not 'of'. In old plays they would use a literal apparatus to make a god appear and bring about resolution. The machine wasn't part of the story though...

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 05/23/2012 - 06:13
the best example

i can't quite agree with you on that one though u are some what a good thinker

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 20:43
Deus ex Machina

Bergman's SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT uses deus ex machina masterfully in its comic climax. Perhaps deus ex machina is more desirable in comic forms.

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 09/10/2011 - 18:46
john Paul

i cant relate

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 08/15/2011 - 16:09
above comment

very true, its pathetic really, its basically a lie. The lost writers build up something of unfathomable proportions only to realize they cant end it, thus betraying the audiences trust in their staying true to the story

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 08/05/2011 - 22:16
Another Example

This is exactly like Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyers (the last in the Twilight series). There was a big get together of all these vampires getting ready to fight the Vultore and then Alice comes out of no where with another baby vampire and all is well and no fight happens. LAME ENDING!

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 07/28/2011 - 21:39
The fight with the Volturi was a mental fight.

Yes, Alice appeared with the half vampire and his vampire sister from South America, and that totally undermined the Volturi's reason for claiming just cause. However, it was Bella's gaining control of her ability to shield that stopped the Volturi twins, Alec and Jane, from incapacitating the Cullens and those who stood with them.

The reason for the Volturi confrontation was political. Aro wanted to add both Edward and especially Alice to his entourage, but needed a reason to act against the Cullens. This is verified by Eleazar of the Denali coven who was once part of the Volturi guard. The Volturi try to provoke the Denali vampires to action by killing Irina for having reported her mistaken assumption as to Renesmee's origin. When Aro can find no way to incite the fight he, and the rest of the Volturi withdraw.

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/18/2012 - 07:12
re:another example

I'm not the biggest Stephanie Meyers fan in the world, but I don't really think the end of Breaking Dawn is an example.
Alice says that she's looking for something else to help and the fact that Renesme even exists gives the situation plausibility. What wouldn't have been plausible is to assume that Edward is the first vampire in the history of histories to have sex with a human and leave them alive. What would have made it an example of deus ex machina would have been if the other half-human, half-vampire would have shown up on his own because he heard about the gathering or because god told him to or he just had a feeling that he would be needed.
Since Alice was traveling the world looking for a solution from the beginning it, it is completely possible that she found another like Renesme

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/11/2012 - 22:53
Re. Another Example

I totally agree! It ruined the whole ending for me!

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 08/30/2011 - 02:31
The best example...

A current example of this and one that many people will be familiar with is the ending of "Lost". All the build up and mystery of the first seasons was simply explained away with some mystical nothingness.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 07/28/2010 - 18:55
i think lost cleverly used

i think lost cleverly used deus ex machina as a motivic device to help propel the meaning of the ending into an unworthy sea of conclusions to help glorify itself. not a noble ending, but clever if you see it that way.

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 08/17/2012 - 02:04

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