Logos, ethos and pathos

Logos, ethos, and pathos are what we call modes of persuasion—rhetorical strategies used to create a favorable reaction to the speakers’ views and arguments. This reaction is achieved by appealing to reason (logos), trust and authority (ethos), or emotions (pathos).

Barack Obama’s inaugural address from 2009 mainly relies on ethos as he makes multiple references to authority (such as the authority of God or of the American constitution) and the trust created by shared values. However, there are also instances of logical arguments and appeals to emo…

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Table of contents

Logos

Barack Obama appeals to reason in the speech whenever he talks about facts related to American society and American foreign policy:

Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on t…

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Ethos

Most of the speech is an appeal to trust and authority. Firstly, the speaker inspires trust in himself by appealing to the power and legitimacy of his new political position: “I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you've bestowed…” 

He reinforces his authority by appearing knowled…

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Pathos

The speaker appeals to emotions in an attempt to connect with the audience at an emotional level and give his views emo…

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