Seven Things You Need To Know About Deus Ex Machina

Due to the busy holiday week, I decided to reblog this older post about deus ex machina. Hope all those that celebrate have a beautiful Christmas!


1. What it means:deus ex machina is Latin for “god in the machine.” It’s a literary term that dates back to the time of the ancient poet Horace. Greek tragedies would sometimes resolve plays by having one of the gods come down from Olympus (on a crane, hence the term machine) and tell the characters how to resolve their problems and conflicts. Today, the term is used to describe a plot contrivance where someone or something other than the main character(s) brings about the resolution of the story.

2. What it’s not: a catch-all phrase to describe any plot twist people don’t like. For instance, the plot twist for M. Night Shyamalan‘s Signs has been rightly reviled by audiences, but it’s not deus ex machina. It just made the invading aliens look stupid. The characters figured out the aliens’ weakness, so they were actively involved in the…

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