Tag Archives: literary terms

Welcome to Excelsior 2: Deux Ex Machina

Welcome to Volume 2 of Excelsior!

This site will focus on art, philosophy, religion, language, culture, and literature. Personal, political, and random stuff will still appear on Volume 1

sumi-e by sarah

sumi-e by sarah

This Volume is subtitled Deux Ex Machina. Deux Ex Machina is traditionally considered an inferior plot device wherein the complication of the story is suddenly and improbably resolved. Literally meaning “God from the Machine,” this term derives from a literal machine used to raise or lower actors playing gods onto the stage in Greek tragedies. According to Horace, this is a Do-Not. Nowadays, it’s a sign of an unskilled writer to just tack on an ending to a hopeless situation that neatly resolves everything. The reader has entered into an unspoken agreement to suspend his disbelief when he begins a story. A Deux Ex Machina dissolves this contract and pulls the reader out of the story.

I was once told something along the lines of Fiction has to be believeable– real life isn’t always believable. Sometimes things seem to just happen in life. Then there is the more zen approach– a situation may seem hopeless to others, but to you it might not require a resolution–“Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like thewind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the middle of them all.”
– Achaan Chaa


Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, words