Logos, ethos, and pathos

Table of contents


Churchill appeals to reason when he includes factual information and uses logical arguments. The use of logos helps the speaker deliver a clear message.

For example, Churchill provides factual information as he describes in great detail the events at Dunkirk. He states the following about how the Allied troops were attacked at Dunkirk:

 (…) the enemy began to fire with cannon upon the beaches (…) They sowed magnetic mines in the channels and seas; they sent repeated waves of hostile aircraft, sometimes more than a hundred strong in one formation, to cast their bombs upon the single pier that remained, and upon the sand dunes upon which the troops had their eyes for shelter.

Churchill also uses statistics to give the audience a sense of the magnitude of the rescue operation at Dunkirk and of its success: “the Navy, using nearly 1,000 ships of all kinds, carried over 335,000 men, French and British, out of the jaws of death and shame”. In a similar manner, he relies on figures to give the audience a sense of Britain’s war losses: “in these battles our losses in men have exceeded 30,000 killed, wounded and missing.”

Logos can also be found in the following statement:

When we consider how much greater would be our advantage in defending the air above this Island against an overseas attack, I must say that I find in these facts a sure basis upon which practical and reassuring thoughts may rest.

Here, Churchill suggests that, logically, the Royal Air Force will be able to provide defence for Britain in the case of a...

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