Deus ex Machina

Deus ex Machina is a rather debatable and often criticized form of literary device. It refers to the incidence where an implausible concept or character is brought into the story in order to make the conflict in the story resolve and to bring about a pleasing solution. The use of Deus ex Machina is not recommended as it is seen to be the mark of a poor plot that the writer needs to resort to random, insupportable and unbelievable twists and turns to reach the end of the story.

If in a suspense novel the protagonist suddenly finds a solution to his dilemmas because of divine intervention.

26 thoughts on “Deus ex Machina”

  1. is it coincidence that “the chrysalids” ends this way, and even mentions “deus ex machina”? or is it because of that story that this lit device is called that, or what??????? seriously, its bugging me.

  2. What is it called when the happenings inside a book are unbelievable like most of the Martha Grimes book I tried to read? It’s a made up story, yeah it’s fiction, but that book was impossible to not close up and put down because it was so outrageous.

  3. This is a clear definition of Lord of the Flies. I mean, couldn’t they just kill Ralph, why did the officer have to come and rescue the boys? I really did not enjoy the ending William Golding, and I hope when I read The Heritors I am not disappointed. Sorry for the spoiler people.

    1. This isn’t a clear definition of it at all. It’s not implausible. A plane load of kids goes missing, of course they are eventually found.

      The ending was perfect because the boys were suddenly pulled out of the wild society that they had created and back into “reality”. They revert to being young boys once again. The book was never simply about the island after all.

    2. I understand. But you have to look at the social climate Golding was in. If he’d killed Ralph off, book sales would’ve dropped

  4. So is “it was all just a dream” the go-to deus ex machina in a story where the author doesn’t know how to resolve the conflict?

  5. this supernatural intervention hang up is a stumbling block to me.My book is a true story.wtih outrageous interventions that realy happened..even the forshadow devises are there Iguess a supernatural true story then would be an oxymoron.iwil give one example from my book. In april of 1967 I was stripped of my one stripe faced certain court marchall a years at Leavenworth to refuse to go to nam..yet in mid may 1967 I was a 2 star general by proxy,got a honorable discharge and full military benefits.

    1. Yes, and its also how the writers of Game of Thrones wrote season 8.
      However, the logic in Avengers: Endgame is mostly solid, unlike Game of Thrones season 8.

      1. Not sure I see that with GoT.

        I get it that you didn’t find the ending satisfying. But even as a casual viewer I had seen foreshadowing of just about every major event and/or plot twist introduced in season 8.

        I didn’t anticipate them mind you, but once they happened I could reflect back and say “Oh yes, I see how we got to this point.”

        1. I think he’s talking about when the mouse conveniently stepped on the machine and released Ant-Man from the Quantum realm.

          1. Well, actually MatPat did the math, and it was very likely and highly plausible for that to happen. Therefore it wasn’t really a use of Deus Ex Machina.

  6. Unless there actually is some supernatural force in your story, or you’re using the device for satire, it quite often just shows that you couldn’t fix a problem in your plot and took the easy way out.

  7. Basically the end of the plot for LOST
    That show was so jumbled up with plot twists that they had no way to wrap it all up so they decided everyone was dead and they were in purgatory or some junk.

    1. Honestly sick of people complaining that “everyone was dead the whooole time” when that’s not even close to what happened.

  8. The Hand of God, literally…

    In Stephen King’s The Stand, there’s a scene in which a bomb is about to explode, but it’s defused just in the nick of time by the hand of God. Literally. The hand of God comes down from the sky and defuses a bomb.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.