Deus ex machina, literally god from the machine, is a literary device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly resolved with the introduction of a new event, character, object or piece of information. The term stems from the use of cranes in ancient Greek theatre that allowed characters to suddenly appear on stage.
Deus ex machina opens up possibilities for plot as it allows for unanticipated twists and turns in a story. It also allows for a situation that appears hopeless to achieve an ending that pleases audiences. For example, in H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, martians have invaded Earth and apparently have triumphed over humanity until they are suddenly killed by bacteria.Generally speaking, deus ex machina is less popular with critics than audiences as it can be a sign that a writer has lost control of their plot and require saving as much as their characters. The technique may defy its critics when new twists in a story are unpredictable, feasible and highly original.
A literary device that suddenly introduces something completely new into a story that resolves or introduces problems.
Dramatic twists and turnsResolving seemingly impossible situations to achieve a palpable ending.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about storytelling.
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