Podcast Script "Rhetoric Tutorial: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos"

Kelly Baker
English 605
M. Mabrito
November 3, 2010
Podcast Script
Rhetoric Tutorial: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
Today’s primary focus is to help you understand the terms ethos, pathos and logos while also
learning how to utilize the three in any multimodal text.
Aristotle developed these three terms to assist his students’ understanding of the art of
persuasion. So, what actually persuades an audience? Is it emotional tugs at the heart? Does it
make a difference if the author is an expert in their field? Or is it clear, hard facts that convince
us? Aristotle believed that it was all three. Today they are coined as the Aristotelian appeals.
Most often, students learn about ethos, pathos, and logos in speech or English courses.
However, we are inundated with the Aristotelian appeals on a daily basis. When your alarm
alerts you that it is time to wake up in the morning, you might hear a commercial for debt
consolidation that urges you to call now to take control of your money. It is your money, and
clearly you aren’t spending it wisely, so logically you need to have someone help you. When you
realize that this commercial doesn’t apply to you at all, you flip off the radio and head to the
kitchen. Not realizing it, you have just been presented with a logical appeal or logos. Wikipedia
defines logos in simplistic terms; logic used to support a claim. It can also be the facts and
statistics used to help support the argument.
While eating breakfast, you pick up the day’s newspapers to read about the current election. An
article sparks your interest because it is written by a leading political expert that your history
teacher mentioned in class yesterday. You clip it out of the newspaper to take for your current
event in class and also because you truly believe that this expert knows what he is talking about.
You have encountered your second rhetorical appeal: ethos. Ethos is the author/speakers
credibility. It is their reputation and how they are viewed by the audience. You knew the writer
was an expert, so you believed their opinions even though they were just that, opinions.
Finally, you hop in the car to make it to school on time and you flip on the radio to listen to
music. The song on the radio has a sad and melancholy tone. The singer talks about losing a
loved one to cancer. You feel a flood of emotion and automatically think about someone that
you knew who struggled with cancer. This song just appealed to you on an emotional level,
known as pathos. It is meant to motivate you to action, by volunteering for a 10K cancer support
run/walk or visiting a friend that is dealing with the disease. Pathos is emotion. Its purpose to
convey that emotion to the audience.
So to sum it up, logos is logic (facts and statistics), ethos is ethics and reputation of the author,
and pathos is emotion and feelings.
Now that you understand what each of these three terms means, let’s talk about how they can
be integrated into any multimodal text. According to Cynthia Selfe in her book Multimodal
Composition, she argues that there are some common rhetorical principles that can be applied
in print as well as multimodal texts.
o So let’s begin with logos. “Factual data and statistics, quotations and citations of
scholars, informed arguments, and rational, balanced responses” all appeal to logic
whether in a traditional essay or an informational poster (50). When creating an
informational poster about the health benefits of milk, you can utilize logos by providing
a quote from the United Stated Department of Agriculture’s website mypyramid.gov
which provides facts and data supporting your argument.
o Pathos can be integrated through “expressive, vivid language, emotional narratives,
figurative language, and emotional responses” (50). While choosing a song to be
featured during the intro to your podcast covering the tragedies of animals in puppy
mills, your mind drifts to a song that you recall aptly titled “Only kindness matters” and
so you decide to incorporate it to pull at your listeners heartstrings and support your
o Lastly, ethos focusing “on the character of the author as being fair-minded” and having
an “honest tone” are important in both (50). “Correctness in formal features,
vocabulary, and grammar” provide reliability (50). “Authoritative and credible
responses” secure the author as trustworthy and believable in a traditional essay or a
video essay (50). In your video essay researching the ethical nature of surrogacy, you
keep in mind the different perspectives that viewers might have in order to provide a
fair overview of both sides of the issue. Your listeners see you as fair-minded because
you are not biased and provide both sides of this highly debatable issue without
choosing sides or offending anyone.
So no matter what medium you choose to express your ideas through, keep in mind these three
concepts and how they can work for you. Start paying attention to commercials, magazines,
songs to see how often the media uses the Aristotelian appeals to persuade you. They aren’t shy
in using them, and neither should you.