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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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MACHINE (through Fr. from Lat. form machina of Gr. µr i xavr l), any device or apparatus for the application or modification of force to a specific purpose. The term "simple machine" is applied to the six so-called mechanical powers - the lever, wedge, wheel and axle, pulley, screw, and inclined plane. For machine-tools see TooLs. The word machine was formerly applied to vehicles, such as stage-coaches, &c., and is still applied to carriages in Scotland; a survival of this use is in the term "bathing machine." Figuratively, the word is used of persons whose actions seem to be regulated according to a rigid and unchanging system. In politics, especially in America, machine is synonymous with party organization. A stage device of the ancient Greek drama gave rise to the proverbial expression, "the god from the machine," Lat. deus ex machina, for the disentangling and conclusion of a plot by supernatural interference or by some accident extraneous to the natural development of the story. When a god had to be brought on the stage he was floated down from above by a yEpavos (crane) or other machine (µiXavi i). Euripides has been reproached with an excessive use of the device, but it has been pointed out (A.E. Haigh, Tragic Drama of the Greeks, p. 245 seq.) that only in two plays ( Orestes and Hippolytus ) is the god brought on for the solution of the plot. In the others the god comes to deliver a kind of epilogue, describing the future story of the characters, or to introduce some account of a legend, institution, &c.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Machine'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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