Logos, ethos, and pathos

Modes of persuasion refer to those rhetorical strategies intended to stir a response in the audience. To achieve this, speakers appeal to emotions (pathos), logic and facts (logos), or shared values, authority, and trust (ethos).

Most of Barack Obama’s announcement speech uses ethos, as he constantly tries to build a trust relationship with the audience, based on shared American values. However, he also appeals occasionally to emotions and logical evid…

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Table of contents

Logos

Obama appeals to reason by using facts and logical arguments to support his views. This is particularly noticeable when he gives concrete examples of facts and issues that Americans are dissatisfied with or when he gives evidence of what he achieved a…

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Ethos

The appeal to trust (or authority) and shared values is by far the dominant strategy in Barack Obama’s speech. This can be understood in the context of the speech and the speaker’s intention. Barack Obama wants to appear as a reliable, suitable political candidate for the presidency.

Consequently, he often attempts to make himself appear trustworthy, skilled, and caring. This is why the first part of his speech focuses on hi…

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Pathos

The speaker appeals to emotions several times in the speech by creating contrasts between negative and positive feelings. The negative feelings are used to emphasize how Americans feel in the presen…

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