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#10872 - 11/20/00 03:41 AM Words from the world of literature Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 134 Wordsmith
Joined: Mar 2000
When we face a serious crisis we often look upwards for divine intervention.
In such hopeless times we pray to the gods to descend from heaven and
deliver us from whatever travail prevails. In ancient Greek and Roman drama,
the gods literally came down from above, though not from heaven, to help the
heros of the drama and save the plot.
As it turns out, the gods themselves needed a little bit of help coming
down. A crane was used to lower a god onto the stage and untangle the plot.
Thus he was known as deus ex machina, literally, a god from a machine. Soon
the figurative use of this device in a drama began to be described by the
same name. Greek dramatist Euripides (480-406 BC) was particularly fond
of it. We are all intimately familiar with this device thanks to popular
cinema. The hero who had supposedly drowned half-way through the story is
miraculously revived to accompany the heroine into the sunset.
This week we look at more words from the world of literature.
#10873 - 11/22/00 11:03 AM Prosopopoeia Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511 AnnaStrophic
Joined: Mar 2000
lower upstate New York
"OK, now we have anthropomorphism, personification and, as of today's A.W.A.D. (in my lexicon, anyway), prosopopoeia," she remarked, absently.
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