Logos, ethos, and pathos

Table of contents


Logos represents an appeal to reason. In “Quit India”, Mahatma Gandhi appeals to the logic of the audience by explaining the policy of the Indian National Congress: “the Congress has been building on non-violence known as constitutional methods”; “From its very inception the Congress based its policy on peaceful methods, included Swaraj and the subsequent generations added non-violence”. He also uses religious concepts to explain the basis of the Congress’ policy to the audience and to show how they should vote:

The draft resolution of the Working Committee is based on Ahimsa, the contemplated struggle similarly has its roots in Ahimsa. If, therefore, there is any among you who has lost faith in Ahimsa or is wearied of it, let him not vote for this resolution.

He also uses reason to appeal to the United Nations, explaining his demands, India’s current situation, and India’s position in the Second World War:

I do not want the United Powers to go beyond their obvious limitations (…) There is a fundamental difference between fascism and this imperialism which I am fighting (…) Think what difference it would make if India was to participate as a free ally.


Ethos appeals to trust or authority in an attempt to make the speaker and the other people he alludes to in his speech appear trustworthy, skilled, caring, or knowledgeable. It also appeals to shared values.

Gandhi portrays himself as a knowledgeable and honest man who cares about his reputation. He is aware that his opposition, as well as his friends, might question his motives and reasoning, however, he puts emphasis on telling the truth: “Now I hold my wisdom is not such a treasure which I cannot afford to lose; but my honesty i...

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