Rhetoric - Montgomery County Schools



What is rhetoric?

Rhetoric is:

Speaking or writing effectively

Using words for a purpose; often this purpose is to persuade. Aristotle: “the power to see the possible ways of persuading people about a given subject.”

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What is the Purpose and Goal?

Purpose of Rhetoric To analyze arguments of others To learn how to write your own arguments

Goal of Persuasion

To change the points of view of others

To motivate others to take action

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Aristotle taught there are 3 main strategies in an argument





The core of the rhetorical chart is purpose — What does the author/speaker cartoonist/filmmaker/advertiser want the reader/listener/viewer to Feel? Think? Do?

Author’s Purpose Logos Ethos Pathos

Rhetoric Triangle Each appeal is equally important and potentially affects the others.


Logical Argument

Involves facts



Quoted experts

Cause and Effect information

Analogies or comparisons

Common sense information

Shared values


Appeals to the heart





Uses imagery, figurative language

Carefully constructed sentences

Personal anecdotes


Anaphora repetition of a word or group of words at the beginning of items in a series This repetition emphasizes the point and expresses passion and emotion. Moreover, the repetition affects the audience emotionally.

Anaphora and Pathos used together

We shall shall fight not flag or fail. in France, We shall we shall fight oceans, we shall fight whatever the cost may be, beaches, we shall fight go on to the end. We on the seas and with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, we shall fight on the on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight hills. We shall never surrender. in the

—Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons, June 4, 1940

Ethos Credibility

Appeals to the conscience, ethics, morals, standards, values, and principles.

Author or speaker tries to convince you he is of good character.

Qualified to make his claims.

Cites relevant authorities.

Quotes others accurately and fairly.

What type of rhetoric?

Former President George W. Bush’s address to a joint session of Congress following the 9/11 attacks


Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech


Maya Angelou’s remarks at the funeral service for Coretta Scott Kin

g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otGXTryeY6w&feature=related


President Bush uses pathos to acknowledge the courageous act of Todd Beamer when “[he] rushed terrorists to save others on the ground….” In addition, President Bush points out the feelings of the American people toward their fellow Americans when he discusses the “unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles….” to show that America is united and will not let “terrorists” destroy the “strong…union.”

Pathos: Complete the graph

“lighting of the candles” Using the word “candles” creates brings up a feeling of … The word “lighting” suggests a feeling of ….

How do you feel about being an American when you read this passage?

How does the phrase “lighting of candles” express emotions?


Circle the logical appeal on your worksheet Examples: “ Svante Arrhenius calculated…” “ my teacher, Roger Revelle, and… Dave Keeling…” What do the experts bring to the article? What does the scientific research do for Gore’s Conclusion?


Angelou emphasizes her relationship with Mrs. King, and therefore her qualifications to speak, by referring to herself and King as “we” and also as “ a sister-of-a-sister.” Through Angelou’s first person reference and reference to racial affiliation, Angelou makes it clear that she is qualified to speak to others that cared about Mrs. King because they were friends.

Ethos: Complete the graph

“We” “all the other families in the world who would want to be here” Angelou emphasizes her relationship with Mrs. King, and therefore qualifies her to speak by referring to herself and King as “we” Angelou includes the audience in her statements, creating a feeling that she is connected to and speaks for all who cared for Mrs. King.

How did reference to Dr. Martin Luther King provide credibility to Maya Angelou’s remarks?

If you didn’t know Maya Angelou was a world renowned speaker, how did her speech make it seem as such?


Ethos Appeal based on the character of the speaker Pathos Appeal based on emotion Logos Appeal based on the character of the speaker