What is the deus ex machina in William Shakespeare's play As You Like It?

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The phrase deus ex machina literally means “a god from a machine.” It refers to the practice, in some ancient plays, of using a crane to lower an actor, playing a god, onto the stage. The actor playing the god would then use his divine powers to resolve some knotty complication in the plot of the work. To employ this (literal) device was often considered inartistic. It would be as if one had painted oneself into a corner and then discovered a hidden door allowing a quick and easy exit.

One example of a deus ex machina might be the sudden appearance of Hymen at the end of William Shakespeare's play As You Like It. However, perhaps an even better example occurs a bit later. In the final scene of the drama, all the romantic complications of the play have been worked out to everyone’s satisfaction. One problem, however, remains: the rightful but unnamed Duke, who has been living in exile in a forest after having been banished by Frederick, his usurping younger brother, is still living in exile...

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