Pathos (Taken from Writing Arguments, Chapters 4 and 7)
PATHOS, "suffering" or "experience" in Greek, refers to the "emotional appeal" that the writer/speaker makes to the audience. The writer/speaker can develop pathos in a number of ways:
- Tone and Style
- Anecdotes and Analogies
- Classical or Delayed Thesis
Plato was against using the emotions of the audience to the speaker/writer's advantage, but Aristotle understood that as humans, we are not moved by the intellect alone; emotions can play a role in the effectiveness of arguments.
As such, the writer/speaker must always be conscious of the cares and concerns of the audience. Some questions that the writer/speaker must always consider when attempting to persuade:
- What is the rhetorical context? Who is my audience and what do they care about?
- How can I use this context and these concerns to present myself effectively ?
Some ways to address these questions:
- Use Concrete Language--The use of vivid description allows the audience to imagine themselves in a certain situation and can increase their reaction to that situation.
- Use Specific Examples and Illustrations--These have two purposes: they can serve as evidence and support; and they can provide presence and emotional resonance.
- Use Narratives--Arguments can benefit from stories embedded within them. These stories appeal directly to the audience's sympathies and imagination. Like concrete language, stories allow the audience to envision themselves within the situation and their reaction to it.
Other concerns that can affect your pathos:
- Diction--The choice of words, metaphors and analogies should be dependent on the writer/speaker's aim and agenda. The use of synonyms, antonyms, similes, and metaphors can reveal a writer/speaker's slant. When would you want to refer to someone as "homeless" as opposed to "displaced," or "meek?"
- Classical vs. Delayed Thesis--Dependent upon the likelihood of your audience's acceptance or rejection of your message, you may want to consider either frontloading or delaying your thesis. If you believe your audience will generally accept your position, it might be best to explicitly state your thesis immediately. But if you suspect that your audience may be resistant to your message, you may want to imply your thesis and save it until after your have presented your evidence and reasoning.
When looking at the Evian page, what "pathetic appeals" are made? What is the pathos of the page?