Clipping from Ethos (Ethical Proofs)

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According to Aristotle, ethos is defined as the credibility that the author establishes. Ethos is classified
as one of three types of persuasion; the other two being logos and pathos. Ethos is a greek term from
which ethics is derived and is referred to as ethical appeal in the rhetorical context. The basis of rhetoric
is formed from the author's attitude and character toward his audience. His character is what gives value
to his words and thus, provides support and proof to his arguments.
As an orator, one has the advantage of persuading the audience through speech as well as emotions
(Homer 51) Also, there can be constant interaction between the orator and the audience. But in writing,
through the words on the page, one has to thoroughly demonstrate to the audience his credibility. Thus,
ethos is a critical element without which rhetoric would not be able to function.
Credibility can be established by demonstrating three characteristics in writing: intelligence, virtue, and
goodwill. Intelligence, the first quality, is indicated by a certain amount of knowledge of the subject.
Common sense combined with convincing arguments that are logical is essential in demonstrating this
quality. Discussing the various viewpoints of a subject also exhibits a certain amount of intelligence. The
audience consists of as many opinions as people and therefore, recognizing these vie wpoints only helps
the author in building his persuasion.
Virtue and good character is another quality by which the author becomes believable. Stating ones
beliefs, values, and priorities in connection with the subject assists in convincing the audience of the
argument. If these beliefs and values coincide with the majority of the audience, the writer is well on his
way to success. Goodwill is the last attribute essential to establishing credibility. This characteristic
projects concerns for the audience's viewpoint and respects their intelligience, sinc erety and common
sense.
The essence of the speaker's relationship to his audience is the attitude which he assumes toward them
(Talmadge 157). The range of attitudes extends from formality to informality. The speaker who
establishes a formal relationship with his audienc e maintains " an aloof dignity " suitable for serious
discourse whereas the informal speaker regards his audience more as a group of individuals with whom
he can be familiar, like friends engaging in an easy conversation. The approach that a speaker uses
should be determined at an early stage of planning and then carefully maintained throughout the speech (
Talmadge 159). This leads to the classification of the diversified audience to which the speaker must pay
attention to.
Ethos must attend to the various character types if the speaker is to address his audience successfully. It
is a simple concept to comprehend because just as one has to go down to the level of a child to speak to a
five-year old, the speaker has to be able to communicate in the specific type of language depending upon
the whom the audience consists of.
In terms of their character, according to the Greek view, the young are "pleasure-loving, impulsive, and
optimistic" (Kennedy 164). To a certain extent, these qualities hold truth; the young can also be
characterized by being guileless, trusting, co urageous, confident, and adventurous. Thus, these
characteristics assist the speaker in portraying a speech that will invite and discuss adventure, friendship.

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Comments


Mark de LA says
There was a lot of supportive material i sould not like to show inline.

ads says
What was the purpose of this item ? The link doesn't work - were you trying out a "continued" item ?

Seth says
was just seeing the limitations of copying from a pdf file into the rte box ... how much got missed. Delete it or edit it if you like. Also i think that refering to a pdf file is not all that useful here ... if it is pertanent to the discussion, then it should show inline.

unknown says
Also, sometimes I use an item or comment as a bookmark for future conversation on that topic.