Sitting around thinking about writing a paper or speech can be very nerve-racking, especially around deadlines. How do the first people learn to write in the world? What guidelines did they have to follow that we must now follow in our own? One can look upon the works of Aristotle when it came to writing, as he studied rhetoric. Rhetoric is the study of speaking, and almost an art (Using Ethos, N.D.). Aristotle is famously known for the writing of Aristotle’s Rhetoric, a book that broke down speaking and elegant writing into several key components, of them being pathos, logos, and ethos. My first class at college was called Rhetoric, and while it was an English class, I had no idea what pathos, logos, and ethos were until that class. It was the first thing we studied in the class, and since then, I have been able to write more efficiently and effectively. Can these three ideas and concepts really improve someone’s writing? I believe they can, and I would like to demonstrate to you how each of the three are used today. Aristotle studied rhetoric on the basis of three key terms – ethos, pathos, and logos – and they are crucial to the art of writing and speaking.
The first component is ethos, or more simply, trustworthiness. When it came to research this idea out of the three that is the main word I kept coming across. Ethos deals primarily with the speaker, and how the audience reacts to him. “If the audience trusts you, then they expect that what you are telling them is true,” says Andrew Dlugan, the author of an article I found that dissects ethos completely, and he states that an audience looks to honest people to listen to (Dlugan, 2010). If you think about it, it makes perfect sense as well. Two other contributions to ethos can deal with a person’s reputation and authority. Ethos is about moral character – how the speaker is and presents himself. Audiences always listen to what the president says because he is of the highest authority, and...
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