To what extend do you agree that the awesome power of the gods could only be fully represented on the stage with the innovation of the "mechane"? 

The crane that delivered actors representing the gods to the stage would have been unimportant in representing the power of the gods. As in all great theater, the skill of the playwright and actors, and the imagination of the audience, are what truly matter.

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When the expression deus ex machina is used in literary studies, it refers to a plot device which is generally clumsy and difficult to believe. While we have to imagine the exact effect of a god being delivered onto the stage of a Greek theater by means of a crane,...

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When the expression deus ex machina is used in literary studies, it refers to a plot device which is generally clumsy and difficult to believe. While we have to imagine the exact effect of a god being delivered onto the stage of a Greek theater by means of a crane, there is no reason to think that it would be much more impressive than the metaphor. Even if it was, an actor delivered by crane seems unlikely to have come close to representing the power and majesty of the gods.

In the prologue to Henry V, Shakespeare famously tells his audience that they will have to use their imaginations rather than relying on special effects to convince them that they are witnessing the Battle of Agincourt:

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Into a thousand parts divide on man,
And make imaginary puissance;
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings...

It is arguable, and has often been argued, that the only historical time and place that has ever produced such a wealth of great drama as Elizabethan and Jacobean England was fifth-century Athens. In fact, it probably produced far more, since the few works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that remain are a tiny fragment of what we know was written. If the dramatic power and magnificent language of these extant plays are anything to go by, the imaginative member of an Athenian audience would not have been relying on cranes to convey divine power. The words of the playwright would require only skillful acting and a little imagination to realize that majesty.

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