Saturday, July 11, 2015

deus ex machina - a literal machine

The term deus ex machina was originally a Greek term meaning "god from the machine". Today we use it to refer to poorly written plots that suddenly solve everything using the abrupt and contrived appearance of a super power.

It turns out that it was always used to refer to poorly written plots, but it also referred more specifically to a machine used to raise an actor to portray a god in a play. The machine was either a crane used to lower actors from above, or a riser used to raise actors up through a trapdoor.

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