Latin Phrase: Deus ex machina
Special summer series on Latin phrases! While many of Latin words are still used in today’s English-speaking academia, not many opportunities are given for international students to learn those useful expressions thoroughly. For this summer, ISO Culture Thursday will introduce some basic Latin words every week.
“Deus Ex Machina (literally ‘God out of a machine’ in Latin)” is a latin phrase that is commonly used to indicate the implausible situation where a divine character is suddenly introduced into a storyline and resolve its tangled conflicts. To understand this term, it is important to understand the ancient Greek theater culture. Greek tragedy writers used cranes–the machine–to lower an actor (often God) onto the stage to resolve hopeless situations of their play. Even today, people use the term, “deus ex machina” to criticize the ill-structured plots or “mechanical” ending of new films and plays.