The New International Encyclopædia/Deus ex Machina

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The New International Encyclopædia
Deus ex Machina
Edition of 1905. See also Deus ex machina on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

DEUS EX MACHINA, măk'ĭ-nȧ (Lat., God from a machine, a translation of Gk. Θεὸς ἀπὸ μηχανῆς, Theos apo mēchanēs) . An expression borrowed from the ancient classical theatre. The tragic poets often employed the intervention of a divinity to solve abruptly a tragic difficulty, and quickly bring about the dénouement. The god was brought on by stage machinery; lienee the name. Examples of the use of this device are the appearance of Heracles in the Philoctetes and of Athena in the Iphigenia in Taurica. From the ancient usage, the term has been extended to mean any device by which a dramatic situation is abruptly solved.