The mechanism of ventricular defibrillation can be considered at many different levels. The highest level is considered the strength of the shock given through the defibrillation electrodes. At the next level, the mechanism of defibrillation can be examined in terms of the electrical field that the shock produces throughout the ventricles. Other levels include the effects this electric field has on the activation sequences and on the cellular action potentials that either initiate or inhibit the early sites of activation following the shock. Yet another level considers the mechanism by which the shock field initiates new action potentials or prolongs the action potential by changing the transmembrane potential during the shock. Finally, the subcellular level is considered, which involves the response of the individual ion channels to the shock. This review gives a brief overview of some salient features of defibrillation at each of these mechanistic levels.