19 Pathos is Relevant but Undetected in Today’s Society

Alex Fitpatrick

Keywords: Emotions, Persuasion, Reasoning, Modern


People adopt persuasive techniques constantly without realizing they are using them. Aristotle identifies three primary techniques: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Pathos is simply a way to evoke feelings from people and play on their emotions. It’s an effective tactic that’s often used during arguments because it relates to people’s emotions. I believe that pathos is the most prominent method of persuading as it simply plays on the emotions of people, however, this can be misleading and cause them to feel confused. Advertising is a great example of the way in which Pathos moves people to think or act differently based on emotions, to get people buying their product. It’s important to use pathos as it performs the best to get through to people in order to buy products.

 

Advertising is all about bringing the emotion out of the viewers and trying to evoke some sort of reaction in order for them to buy their product. They mainly focus on the way that this product will benefit your life and without it you’re suffering. Aristotle defines pathos as “putting the audience in the right frame of mind by appealing to the audience’s emotions.” Advertising uses pathos for entertainment, providing comical ways which play on the audience’s feelings and may lead them to buy the product. This laughter and comical strategies in advertising allow the audience to feel a connection. A great example would be the mayhem Allstate commercials as people enjoy watching these and persuades them to look at what they are selling.

 

In Pathos and Pastoralism: Aristotle’s Rhetoric in Medieval England, Copeland suggests that “logos is the core of rhetoric and pathos is the secondary approach.” Logos deals with the logic and reasoning of an argument, but Pathos evokes emotions from the audience. Motivating your audience to feel included is vital to feel a connection. It has to start with the initial interaction of the feelings. Without the initial feelings, the audience may not feel interested if they are not caught quickly when watching the advert. Humor and references that may be personal to the audience. A good example of this would be the Amazon Alexa commercial during the 2019 Superbowl and allows for the personal connection as it is responding to the human in a comical way.

 

Focusing on the persuasive effect, Higgins and Walker argue, in “Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Strategies of Persuasion in Social/environmental Reports,” that Burke found that identification in persuasion is simply when one party must identify with another. They also believe that the most important part of persuasion is identifying, and this is entirely based on emotions. This is when “a persuader conveys a sense that she understands and relates to the needs, values and desires of the audience.’” Therefore, no vivid imagery is used to create the connection between author and audience but similar to before, humor is the best connection between audience and author.

Pathos acts on people’s emotions and allows persuasion to happen as a personal connection. In this chapter, I discussed examples of how advertisements evoke feelings.

Adverts are used in order to persuade the audience to buy their product. Whether that is using a sad commercial or angry, it’s used to make the audience feel like they need to take action or could use the product for laughter with friends and therefore urges them to buy what’s in the adverts. Without pathos, items wouldn’t be sold, business would never be made, and society would never be able to function.


Works Cited

Copeland, Rita. “Pathos and Pastoralism: Aristotle’s Rhetoric in Medieval England.” Speculum, vol. 89, no. 1, 2014, pp. 96–127. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43576950. Accessed 16 May 2021.

CVA, Kinkpe. “Https://Www.medwinpublishers.com/JOBD/JOBD16000139.Pdf.” Journal of Orthopedics & Bone Disorders, vol. 1, no. 7, 2017, doi:10.23880/jobd-16000139.

Higgins, Colin, and Robyn Walker. “Ethos, Logos, Pathos: Strategies of Persuasion in Social/environmental Reports.” Accounting forum 36.3 (2012): 194–208. Web.

Meyer, Michel. “Aristotle’s Rhetoric.” Topoi 31.2 (2012): 249-52. ProQuest. Web. 16 May 2021.

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Rhetoric in Everyday Life by Alex Fitpatrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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