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Methods > Deus ex machina

Preferred term

1799Deus ex machina  

Broader concept

Scope note

  • Theatrical convention mainly of the ancient Greek tragedy, whereby a divine figure intervenes suddenly and provides solution to an apparently insoluble plot situation. The deus ex machina foretells the offstage future of the characters, their relatives, or descendants, establishes a custom, an institution or a cult, interprets a place name etc. Its appearance may be announced or realised suddenly with the aid of a stage mechanism. It is a typical feature of Euripidean tragedy.


  • Dunn 1996
  • Schmidt 1963
  • Spira 1960


  • Katsiadakis Helen (AA)


  • Goulis Helen (AA)


  • 1799

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