Defence Against the Dark Arts: Poisonous Pathos

Out of all the rhetorical tropes stocked in our arsenal of persuasion, pathos is certainly the most powerful. Logos is like a castle, well-founded, sturdy and strong, however pathos is the wave of water which sinks it with overwhelming force.

Pathos is an appeal to the emotions. Whether that is sadness, pity, happiness or anger; whenever someone is trying to inspire any sort of emotion from the audience they are using pathos. Continue reading “Defence Against the Dark Arts: Poisonous Pathos”

Advertisements

Defence Against the Dark Arts: Elusive Ethos

Ethos, logos and pathos are often celebrated as the Three Musketeers of Rhetoric. However, they can be much more menacing than people realise. They distort logic, they cloud reason and they manipulate judgment.

Ethos is probably one of the most commonly used and least commonly detected forms of rhetoric. Ethos is when a speaker attempts to invoke authority or credibility (either over themselves or someone else) to persuade an audience. Continue reading “Defence Against the Dark Arts: Elusive Ethos”

The Dirty Rhetorician; The Glib and Oily Art

”If for I want that glib and oily art,

To speak and purpose not…”

This is a quote from Shakespeare’s King Lear. It refers of course to rhetoric – that dangerous dark art of manipulating words to speak and purpose not! Rhetoric is still today seen as a dirty word that is often used to accuse adversaries of possessing a questionable disposition. For example, the media only really uses the word ‘rhetoric’ when they are talking about Donald Trump or North Korea (when they are talking of Obama they tend to use the word oratory).

Continue reading “The Dirty Rhetorician; The Glib and Oily Art”

Sarcasm: The tricky trope

In yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Jeremy Corbyn said ‘I hope that the Prime Minister is proud of her record…’ Most native English speakers would know that this isn’t what he meant. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t care whether or not Theresa May feels pride in her record. However, he is pointing out that she shouldn’t be proud. Sarcasm; plain, simple and scathing.

Jeremy Corbyn could have said ‘I hope the Prime Minister is ashamed of her track record’, however, he clearly thought that sarcasm was more effective. Sarcasm can be a nasty way of telling someone off, and if it’s done publicly in a way that patronises your opponent, then you definitely get bonus points from your party.

Continue reading “Sarcasm: The tricky trope”