Ethos, Pathos, and
The Rhetorical Appeals
What is rhetoric?
We often associate rhetoric with politicians;
for example, “He uses empty rhetoric.”
However, we will be working with
rhetoric as the study and practice of
“The strategic use of the various
modes of language (spoken, written,
body, visual, etc.) to create meaning
and/or argument” (GFC, 2013, 747).
“Rhetoric is the use of words—either
spoken or written—as well as visuals to
achieve some goal” (Roen, Glau, &
Maid,2012, p. 1).
“The faculty of observing, in a given
case, the available means of
Acts of persuasion can be
classified into the following three
Ethos: Appeal to credibility
Pathos: Appeal to emotions
Logos: Appeal to logic
Ethos appeals to credibility using:
Ethos represents the overall persona of the
speaker/writer and his/her attempt to be
The following Nike commercial employs
ethos by fitting its message to the celebrity
(a form of authority) who endorses it:
Pathos appeals to the emotions,
values, and beliefs of the audience.
In this clip from Mad Men, Dom Draper
evokes a nostalgic emotion of longing
through a combination of images and
Logos appeals to reasoning and
numbers. It is also represented by wellorganized argumentation and internal
This anti-tobacco PSA is based on a
single powerful statistic:
Note that, although the rhetorical
appeals have different focuses, they can
work together, sometimes
simultaneously, to create an effective
message. For example, the creation of a
logical, well-organized argument is most
clearly an example of logos, but it can
also promote the writer’s ethos by
making him/her look well-informed and
The Rhetorical and Visual Analysis is
worth 100 points, or 10% of your overall
Should following academic writing
Examine the instructions and rubric on
Blackboard for more information.
For the Rhetorical and Visual Analysis, you are
supposed to do the following:
Choose a persuasive document with visual and
textual characteristics to analyze.
Analyze its audience.
Analyze the writer/artist’s use of the rhetorical
appeals (ethos, pathos, and logos).
Examine whether or not the rhetorical appeals
are effective for the intended audience.
The document you are going to analyze needs to
meet certain criteria:
The speaker/writer must be trying to persuade
You need to pick a text with a visual (that is, it
needs to have both words and a visual such as
pictures or a video).
The text and visual need to have enough
substance to carry you through a 3-5 page
You need to choose an object of analysis that has both
written/spoken text and visuals. For example:
Lyrics and a professional/official music video
A political cartoon
An opinion piece with a visual
An advertisement or poster with a substantial
amount of text
A commercial (analyze the visuals separate from
the spoken text)