History Main / DeusExMachina

17th Oct '17 6:50:02 AM WaterBlap
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The term is Latin for "god out of the machine" and originates in [[OlderThanFeudalism ancient Greek theater]].[[note]]the original classical Greek "theos ek mekhanikos" became "deus ex machina" through Latin translations of Greek literary criticism in the Renaissance[[/note]] It referred to scenes in which a crane (''machine'') was used to lower actors or statues playing a god or gods (''deus'') onto the stage to set things right, often near the end of the play. In its most literal interpretation, this is when a godlike figure or power, with all the convenient power that comes with that, arrives to solve the problem. A DivineIntervention need not always be a Deus Ex Machina or the sole way this trope plays out however.

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The term is Latin for "god out of the machine" and originates in [[OlderThanFeudalism ancient Greek theater]].[[note]]the original classical Greek "theos ek mekhanikos" became "deus ex machina" through Latin translations of Greek literary criticism in the Renaissance[[/note]] It referred to scenes in which a crane (''machine'') was used to lower actors or statues playing a god or gods (''deus'') onto the stage to set things right, often near the end of the play. In its most literal interpretation, this is when a godlike figure or power, with all the convenient power that comes with that, arrives to solve the problem. A DivineIntervention need not always be a Deus Ex ex Machina or the sole way this trope plays out however.



# Deus Ex Machina are ''external'' to the characters and their choices throughout the story. The solution comes from a character with [[SmallRoleBigImpact small or non-existent influence on the plot until that point]] or random chance from nature or [[LaserGuidedKarma karma]].

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# Deus Ex ex Machina are ''external'' to the characters and their choices throughout the story. The solution comes from a character with [[SmallRoleBigImpact small or non-existent influence on the plot until that point]] or random chance from nature or [[LaserGuidedKarma karma]].



Remember, even the notorious Deus ex Machina [[TropesAreTools can be pulled off]]. Sudden resolutions are perfectly capable of leading to satisfying conclusions - see the entire "[[RuleOfIndex Rule Of X]]" series of tropes: RuleOfCool, RuleOfCute, RuleOfEmpathy, RuleOfFun, RuleOfFunny, RuleOfRomantic, RuleOfScary, RuleOfSexy (for those ever-so-fun {{Deus Sex Machina}}s), RuleOfSymbolism, and ''especially'' RuleOfDrama. Apparent Deus ex Machina also happen plenty in [[TruthInTelevision real life]], given reality is far more complex and random than most fictionalized versions of it. Not to mention that a DeusExMachina short of the climax is a ChekhovsGun; if the saving force complicates the story afterwards, it's the introduction of a new element.

On top of that, the Deus Ex Machina is often seen to take away from the plot and characters by forcing everything to fit. If the characters are prepared to accept the unwinnable scenario and all its consequences before the Deus Ex Machina, [[LampshadeHanging even acknowledge how lucky they were it showed up]], or it is only accomplished through a HeroicSacrifice, it can take the sting out of its use.

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Remember, even the notorious Deus ex Machina [[TropesAreTools can be pulled off]]. Sudden resolutions are perfectly capable of leading to satisfying conclusions - see the entire "[[RuleOfIndex Rule Of X]]" series of tropes: RuleOfCool, RuleOfCute, RuleOfEmpathy, RuleOfFun, RuleOfFunny, RuleOfRomantic, RuleOfScary, RuleOfSexy (for those ever-so-fun {{Deus Sex Machina}}s), RuleOfSymbolism, and ''especially'' RuleOfDrama. Apparent Deus ex Machina also happen plenty in [[TruthInTelevision real life]], given reality is far more complex and random than most fictionalized versions of it. Not to mention that a DeusExMachina Deus ex Machina short of the climax is a ChekhovsGun; if the saving force complicates the story afterwards, it's the introduction of a new element.

On top of that, the Deus Ex ex Machina is often seen to take away from the plot and characters by forcing everything to fit. If the characters are prepared to accept the unwinnable scenario and all its consequences before the Deus Ex ex Machina, [[LampshadeHanging even acknowledge how lucky they were it showed up]], or it is only accomplished through a HeroicSacrifice, it can take the sting out of its use.



* In ''[[http://rugratonline.free.fr/rrfan35.html The Great Pokemon Fight]]'', [[WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}} Tommy]] is mortally wounded by [[Franchise/{{Digimon}} Greymon]] during a heated battle to save the Poke-Digital World... And just as Greymon tries to finish off Tommy, he, along with his army, then just disappeared. Like, poof, bye bye. Heck, the story even says that they just disappeared for no reason. No one even questions this as they were too busy on the dying Tommy. Then he dies, and suddenly, [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Mew]] comes out of nowhere and revives him. In total, there's ''two'' Deus Ex Machinas in the span of a minute.

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* In ''[[http://rugratonline.free.fr/rrfan35.html The Great Pokemon Fight]]'', [[WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}} Tommy]] is mortally wounded by [[Franchise/{{Digimon}} Greymon]] during a heated battle to save the Poke-Digital World... And just as Greymon tries to finish off Tommy, he, along with his army, then just disappeared. Like, poof, bye bye. Heck, the story even says that they just disappeared for no reason. No one even questions this as they were too busy on the dying Tommy. Then he dies, and suddenly, [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Mew]] comes out of nowhere and revives him. In total, there's ''two'' Deus Ex ex Machinas in the span of a minute.



** Although set up and foreshadowed several posts before it arrived, the stampeding Triceratops herd that ended the battle for the Aztec Village was {{lampshade|Hanging}}d as a Deus ex Machina. Interestingly, unlike most examples of Lampshading, this was not PlayedForLaughs but [[PlayedForDrama For Drama]], since Rex realized that relying on a Deus Ex Machina to save the day is a poor strategy that could easily backfire. Rex later attempted to {{def|iedTrope}}y Deus ex Machina by setting up a BigDamnHeroes in advance, only to be punished for it by the UnspokenPlanGuarantee.

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** Although set up and foreshadowed several posts before it arrived, the stampeding Triceratops herd that ended the battle for the Aztec Village was {{lampshade|Hanging}}d as a Deus ex Machina. Interestingly, unlike most examples of Lampshading, this was not PlayedForLaughs but [[PlayedForDrama For Drama]], since Rex realized that relying on a Deus Ex ex Machina to save the day is a poor strategy that could easily backfire. Rex later attempted to {{def|iedTrope}}y Deus ex Machina by setting up a BigDamnHeroes in advance, only to be punished for it by the UnspokenPlanGuarantee.



* ''[[{{TabletopGame/FateOfTheNornsRagnarok}} Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok]]'' allows player characters to ask a deity to help them in battle. A sacrifice is performed, runes are drawn, and if the aforementioned deity is in a good mood, Deus Ex Machina may occur. However, if your prayer has ''angered'' it, the divine intervention will benefit your opponents!

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* ''[[{{TabletopGame/FateOfTheNornsRagnarok}} Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok]]'' allows player characters to ask a deity to help them in battle. A sacrifice is performed, runes are drawn, and if the aforementioned deity is in a good mood, Deus Ex ex Machina may occur. However, if your prayer has ''angered'' it, the divine intervention will benefit your opponents!



* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' actually has a rule about this, called Hand Of God. When a PC ends up in some sort of [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat hopeless situation]], the PC's player can invoke the Hand Of God, having the GM save the PC via some form of Deus Ex Machina. There's a catch, of course: it has a hefty experience-point cost, and it can only be used once per character.

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* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' actually has a rule about this, called Hand Of God. When a PC ends up in some sort of [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat hopeless situation]], the PC's player can invoke the Hand Of God, having the GM save the PC via some form of Deus Ex ex Machina. There's a catch, of course: it has a hefty experience-point cost, and it can only be used once per character.



* Creator/WilliamShakespeare was generally good at averting and subverting this. ''Theatre/MeasureForMeasure'' has an ending that probably seems like Deus Ex Machina to the characters, but the audience spent the entire play watching the Chessmaster set it up. ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'' ends amicably when the fairies step in and fix everything with magic, but it takes them three tries to get it right and in the meantime they screw everything up even worse. The ending of ''Theatre/TheWintersTale'' is either this or FridgeBrilliance, depending on how you read it (although it did [[ExitPursuedByABear name a trope]] that is usually a DEM). But the pastoral comedy ''Theatre/AsYouLikeIt'' is a straight example, with the father arriving out of the blue to put all conflicts to rest.

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* Creator/WilliamShakespeare was generally good at averting and subverting this. ''Theatre/MeasureForMeasure'' has an ending that probably seems like Deus Ex ex Machina to the characters, but the audience spent the entire play watching the Chessmaster set it up. ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'' ends amicably when the fairies step in and fix everything with magic, but it takes them three tries to get it right and in the meantime they screw everything up even worse. The ending of ''Theatre/TheWintersTale'' is either this or FridgeBrilliance, depending on how you read it (although it did [[ExitPursuedByABear name a trope]] that is usually a DEM). But the pastoral comedy ''Theatre/AsYouLikeIt'' is a straight example, with the father arriving out of the blue to put all conflicts to rest.



* The plot of ''Webcomic/ErrantStory'' is kicked off when Meji casts a spell to invoke a Deus Ex Machina so she can find a way to complete her senior project and graduate from wizard school. As a result, she accidentally discovers, in the school library, the only surviving copy of a book that contains some information that the elves were trying to keep secret. Oddly, despite the [[LampshadeHanging name of the trope being mentioned]], this is ''not'' a normal example of the literary trope, because it serves to drive the plot rather than resolve it.

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* The plot of ''Webcomic/ErrantStory'' is kicked off when Meji casts a spell to invoke a Deus Ex ex Machina so she can find a way to complete her senior project and graduate from wizard school. As a result, she accidentally discovers, in the school library, the only surviving copy of a book that contains some information that the elves were trying to keep secret. Oddly, despite the [[LampshadeHanging name of the trope being mentioned]], this is ''not'' a normal example of the literary trope, because it serves to drive the plot rather than resolve it.



* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18894_6-real-historic-battles-decided-by-divine-intervention.html Deus Ex Machina]] basically gave America the win for quite a few battles in some pretty important wars. America's intervention with a million man army in World War One, after 3 and half years of German victories counts as a Deus ex Machina from a European political perspective. From a tactical and strategical standpoint however, the DeusExMachina effect was pretty limited.

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* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18894_6-real-historic-battles-decided-by-divine-intervention.html Deus Ex Machina]] basically gave America the win for quite a few battles in some pretty important wars. America's intervention with a million man army in World War One, after 3 and half years of German victories counts as a Deus ex Machina from a European political perspective. From a tactical and strategical standpoint however, the DeusExMachina Deus Ex Machina effect was pretty limited.
26th Sep '17 6:18:36 PM DrFraud
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* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8830812/1/Harry-s-Happy-Christmas Harry's Happy Christmas]]'' Santa Claus gives Harry a repaired wand, the Sword of Gryffindor, Voldemort (in doll form) and all of the [[SoulJar Horcruxes]] for Christmas.
18th Sep '17 11:37:58 AM Malady
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A Deus ex Machina ([[LatinPronunciationGuide pron]]: Day-oos eks MAH-kee-nah) is when some new event, character, ability, or object solves a seemingly unsolvable problem in a sudden, unexpected way. It's often used as the solution to what is called "writing yourself into a corner," where the problem is so extreme that nothing in the established setting suggests that there is a logical way for the characters to escape. If a bomb is about to go off, someone finds a convenient bomb-proof bunker in easy reach. If a protagonist [[LiteralCliffHanger falls off a cliff]], a [[GiantRobotHandsSaveLives flying robot will suddenly appear to catch them]]. A MillionToOneChance of something occurring is accomplished by a bystander who [[AchievementsInIgnorance didn't know what they were doing]].

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A Deus ex Machina ([[LatinPronunciationGuide ([[UsefuNotes/LatinPronunciationGuide pron]]: Day-oos eks MAH-kee-nah) is when some new event, character, ability, or object solves a seemingly unsolvable problem in a sudden, unexpected way. It's often used as the solution to what is called "writing yourself into a corner," where the problem is so extreme that nothing in the established setting suggests that there is a logical way for the characters to escape. If a bomb is about to go off, someone finds a convenient bomb-proof bunker in easy reach. If a protagonist [[LiteralCliffHanger falls off a cliff]], a [[GiantRobotHandsSaveLives flying robot will suddenly appear to catch them]]. A MillionToOneChance of something occurring is accomplished by a bystander who [[AchievementsInIgnorance didn't know what they were doing]].
17th Sep '17 2:16:39 PM Malady
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* This is truly the only thing keeping ''ATrollInCentralPark'' from having one of the worst DownerEnding s in the history of animated cinema, as Stanley is turned into stone in the climax - ''the very thing he was afraid of happening to him the whole movie'' - and the only thing that saves him in the end is the little boy just ''somehow'' getting Stanley's Green Thumb powers for no given reason that restore him.

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* This is truly the only thing keeping ''ATrollInCentralPark'' ''WesternAnimation/ATrollInCentralPark'' from having one of the worst DownerEnding s {{Downer Ending}}s in the history of animated cinema, as Stanley is turned into stone in the climax - ''the very thing he was afraid of happening to him the whole movie'' - and the only thing that saves him in the end is the little boy just ''somehow'' getting Stanley's Green Thumb powers for no given reason that restore him.
9th Sep '17 11:20:16 AM Ferot_Dreadnaught
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* Specifically averted and its absence discussed by characters in the ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'' fanfic ''FanFic/HeroesOfTheDesk''. [[GenreSavvy Raynor]] points out that "This Blizzard ain't gonna be around to write some-last-ditch save in this time."

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* Specifically averted and its absence discussed by characters in the ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'' fanfic ''FanFic/HeroesOfTheDesk''. [[GenreSavvy Raynor]] Raynor points out that "This Blizzard ain't gonna be around to write some-last-ditch save in this time."



* When [[Literature/TheLayOfPaulTwister Paul Twister]] is right about to get caught by a guard, an angelic warrior whose life he had saved at the beginning of the story shows up to conveniently provide a distraction, just long enough for him to get away. [[GenreSavvy Paul is a bit freaked out by this, since it seems to have come out of nowhere]] and required knowledge that she shouldn't have had, and he figures that [[ThisIsGonnaSuck whatever he's caught up in is probably about to get worse.]]

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* When [[Literature/TheLayOfPaulTwister Paul Twister]] is right about to get caught by a guard, an angelic warrior whose life he had saved at the beginning of the story shows up to conveniently provide a distraction, just long enough for him to get away. [[GenreSavvy Paul is a bit freaked out by this, since it seems to have come out of nowhere]] nowhere and required knowledge that she shouldn't have had, and he figures that [[ThisIsGonnaSuck whatever he's caught up in is probably about to get worse.]]
9th Sep '17 11:18:42 AM Ferot_Dreadnaught
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->''"[[DiabolusExMachina Coincidences to get characters into trouble]] are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating."''

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->''"[[DiabolusExMachina Coincidences ->''"Coincidences to get characters into trouble]] trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating."''
4th Aug '17 3:19:44 AM Folamh3
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->''"Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating."''

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->''"Coincidences ->''"[[DiabolusExMachina Coincidences to get characters into trouble trouble]] are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating."''
16th Jul '17 2:26:08 PM Gosicrystal
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On top of that, the Deus Ex Machina is often seen to take away from the plot and characters by forcing everything to fit. If the characters are prepared to accept the unwinnable scenario and all it's consequences before the Deus Ex Machina, [[LampshadeHanging even acknowledge how lucky they were it showed up]], or it is only accomplished through a HeroicSacrifice, it can take the sting out of its' use.

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On top of that, the Deus Ex Machina is often seen to take away from the plot and characters by forcing everything to fit. If the characters are prepared to accept the unwinnable scenario and all it's its consequences before the Deus Ex Machina, [[LampshadeHanging even acknowledge how lucky they were it showed up]], or it is only accomplished through a HeroicSacrifice, it can take the sting out of its' its use.



''Also'', please make sure an example meets '''the criteria''' before submitting. This is a not a place to [[Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike Complain About Plot Twists You Don't Like]].

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''Also'', please make sure an example meets '''the criteria''' before submitting. This is a not a place to [[Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike Complain About Plot Twists You Don't Like]].
13th Jul '17 9:16:07 AM NumberFortyFour
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** In the climax, Candace attempts to bring their Mom out to the battlefield to see it, as she believes that the "magical force" that always sweeps away her brothers activities before she can show their Mom will take care of things.
12th May '17 9:01:15 AM SuperSaiyanSonic
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* ''WebAnimation/SuperMarioBrosZ'': In Episode 7, Kolorado's grandfather's stopwatch was revealed to [[spoiler:house an ancient magic which proved to be the only thing capable of negating the curse trapping the characters within the MinusWorld, allowing them all to escape]]. Alvin-Earthworm, the series creator, criticizes himself for writing this into the episode, and he intends to omit this episode from the reboot as a result.
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