Pathos: The Art of Persuasion in Discourse: Meaning and Examples, What It Is. The origin of many things begin in Greece, especially in words. Back in Greek times, Aristotle began the study of persuasion by creating three ways of applying it:
- Ethos: It consists of using an ethical appeal or the character of the speaker himself. It focuses on the authority and credibility of the author.
- Pathos or Pathos: Using emotional appeal in speech to generate a sentimental response in the speaker.
- Logos: Focused on facts, logic and reason. Application of persuasive elements and words of the discourse.
Of these 3, one of the most used modes today is Pathos. Applying this mode of persuasion can be considered an art and today we will show you how great it is and how much it is used in the area of marketing.
What is Pathos? Learning Your Meaning
In Greek, Pathos can refer to both experience and suffering. In fact, it is the root that originates very important words such as Empathy and even Pathetic. At the marketing level, Pathos is understood as the use of an emotional appeal that seeks to focus on feelings instead of just applying logical arguments.
At the level of persuasion, it seeks to reach the “heart fibers” of the viewer and trigger intense emotions that lead them to make a decision. Speakers use this mode of persuasion so that their audience can feel the emotions they describe with their speech.
Often, advertisements use pathos to enhance the connection they have with their audience. Emotions are quite useful when it comes to calling people to action and that is something that marketing teams have used to generate sales, mobilizations and lifestyles.
Aristotle sought to improve persuasive discourses when he began to develop these methods. Now, Pathos is considered as a basic element that cannot be missing in speeches and scripts or any activity that seeks to create a connection with those who are involved.
Pathos seeks to create effectiveness in words. If you remember any of your favorite movies, ads or books, surely a specific feeling comes to mind, it can be happiness, sadness, fun … All these productions that you have liked, have applied Pathos to their way of telling a story so they have managed to bristle your skin and leave you an indelible memory in your mind.
How can “Pathos” be built?
If you notice, the root pathos has been involved in the English language since the sixteenth century to describe qualities that stir emotions. You can find the root in words like:
- Empathy (Ability to understand the emotions of the other and put oneself in their place)
- Pathology (study of the disease associated with suffering).
- Pathetic (Element that makes others feel sorry)
- Psychopathology (Study of diseases that harm the mind).
Surely, you will have used any of these words and you will be familiar with them. Pathos has become a vital component to life and discourse and can be easily constructed.
Connecting with the emotions of the listener is vital to obtain the desired results. To achieve this we suggest:
- Show an honest attitude that others can relate to: To connect with the audience you must be achievable and accessible so that a relationship can be created. It is useless to be seen as arrogant or to show yourself as someone “superior” to them. Being vulnerable can help your audience engage with you or your product.
- Recreate common situations: Anecdotes are a good way to start connecting with the public. In the ads, it is about recreating common situations that everyone has lived so that they can identify themselves and wish to have the product or service in their lives. Here you must have a good ability to tell stories with meaning.
- Demonstrate the emotions in your voice: Pathos can be applied with just the voice. A good tone of voice can help you demonstrate emotions such as sadness, anger, happiness… In marketing, voiceover is applied to generate emotions while showing a specific situation. This helps viewers connect with the causes and take action.
- Colors: If you want to give more strength to your speech or story, try showing specific colors associated with that emotion.
Pathos in Society: Examples
Pathos can be applied in different productions. From works of literature, theater, product ads, songs and even in situations of everyday life. Here are some examples:
Pathos in Literature
The authors of tragedies, comedy and, above all, drama are experts in making their audience feel emotions based on what they narrate. The description of attitudes, tones of voice and expressions, make it possible for people to get involved in the story and develop emotions around it. Example:
- Romeo and Juliet: together with their deep love and the conflict between both families.
- The Great Gatsby: A work that generates curiosity in the audience about the excesses of 1920 and the nostalgia and ambition of Gatsby that lead him towards tragedy.
- Star Wars: The growth of Anakin Skywalker’s character envelops the viewer in a wave of feelings filled with guilt, annoyance, joy, and ultimately forgiveness and redemption.
- Pathos in Rhetorical Discourses: If you have ever been inspired by a politician’s speech, or annoyed or saddened, then that speaker is applying the Phatos very well. For politicians and activists, Phatos is their best strategy. Examples:
- Martin Luther King, Jr – I Have a Dream.
- William Churchill – His Best Moment
Pathos in Everyday Life
It can be used to convince superiors or parents to make or buy something. Also to negotiate, with sellers and be able to receive something that you have been waiting for a long time. Example:
- Convince your parents to buy a new car by telling them that “you will be safer in it” and that “your safety comes first”
- Ask your partner for something by saying, “If you love me, you’ll let me do it.”
- TV commercials promising a better lifestyle if they buy your product.
Read also: Rhetoric in Aristotle; What is Ethos? Definition, concept, meaning; Ethos examples
Recommended external link: Wikipedia
This post is also available in: English Français (French) Deutsch (German) Español (Spanish) Nederlands (Dutch) Italiano (Italian) Português (Portuguese (Portugal))