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Rhetoric assignment 2 - Ethos Pathos Logos

Ethos Pathos Logos

During our first class we discussed the three main aspects of the art of conviction, as they were defined by Aristotle

- Ethos : convincing with our presence, inspiring people to believe in the value of our word

- Pathos : knowing how to move our public, getting people involved on an emotional level

- Logos : convincing the audience with the power and precision of our logic

In ancient Greece where rhetoric was developed as a discipline and an art, Pathos tended to be perceived as manipulative, while Logos was considered the superlative way of convincing an audience

Forming an opinion

We discussed the merits of each of these methods; opinions were formed and expressed.

Some of you adhered to the idea that Pathos was manipulative...

Interesting comments came up regarding Martin Luther King’s famous speech :

- he is effective because he is defending a cause bigger than himself, therefore he uses Pathos but is not necessarily manipulative;

- he is employing a language familiar to his audience, inspired by the preaching of the gospel

- he is expressing thoughts which are connected to a spiritual tradition.


We are going to focus our attention on these points for the duration of the course. If you have not yet begun to form an opinion, then please do. Look for videos of speeches which support the effectiveness of Logos or of Pathos. Analyse carefully how the speaker is getting you involved emotionally. Do you feel that you are being manipulated or simply

moved? Analyse how the speaker is convincing you with the clarity of the arguments put forward, the logic and articulation of the exposé... Prepare yourself to present your analysis orally.

You will be graded on the quality of you arguments and on the quality of your oral presentation. I will also be filming your presentation so you may analyse it in more detail at leisure...

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