Logos, ethos, and pathos

Michelle Obama’s Democratic Convention speech is mostly dominated by pathos and ethos, with few examples of logos. She often attempts to stir emotions in the audience and she puts a lot of effort into building ethos…

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Table of contents

Logos

When she talks about the “great American story”, Michelle Obama makes use of logos. She gives the example of the 88th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote and the example of the 45th anniversary of Marin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech about equality:

It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate tw…

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Ethos

An important part of Michelle Obama’s speech relies on ethos. Michelle Obama talks about her education, but also about Barack Obama’s upbringing and efforts. Unusually, Michelle Obama’s speech builds ethos not only for herself as a speaker, but for her husband in his role as a presidential candidate.

Here is one example when Michelle Obama talks about the education opportunities that she and her husband had:

How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be. 

Through this example – …

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Pathos

Michelle Obama employs pathos in her speech to stir emotions in her audience. The emotion that she appeals to most is patriotism, which is reinforced by the multiple references to the American dream and to making the country achieve its purpose: “I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me.” 

Michelle Obama’s speech also hints at equality and opportunities for all, something that is intended to create an emotional response in the audi…

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