Writing and Research
5 February 2013
Rhetorical Analysis Evaluating Michael Levin’s “The Case for Torture”
Torture is a concept that Americans attempt to avoid. If a criminal possesses the opportunity to harm innocent lives, the delinquent should be stopped. The idea presides in Michael Levin’s “The Case for Torture”; Levin attempts to portray a point that the act of torturing terrorists in order to save innocent lives is justifiable. Throughout the article, Levin fabricates situations to present his argument that torture is not a bad idea. He voices that torture is not established to punish criminals, but instead it is established to hinder future malicious events from occurring. Although the United States government deems torture unconstitutional, Levin validates torture being acceptable through the utilization of the rhetorical appeals pathos and ethos. Pathos, translated to “suffering” or “experience” in Greek, refers to the emotional content of a written work. Throughout “The Case for Torture”, Levin utilizes pathos in order to persuade readers emotionally that torture is tolerable. Levin states, “Americans would be angered to learn that Roosevelt could have had Hitler killed in 1943 – thereby shortening the war and saving millions of lives – but refused on moral grounds”(Levin 360). Pathos directly applies to this example due to the experience and suffering that people endured throughout Hitler’s reign. The passage states that if people were knowledgeable of the Roosevelt’s opportunity to slay the Fascist fiend, they would not be pleased of his peaceful approach. Clarke 2
Levin argues, “If life is so valuable that it must never be taken, the lives of the innocents must be saved even at the price of hurting the one who endangers them”(Levin 360). This passage from the essay attempts to instill Levin’s belief that torture is justifiable by the usage of pathos. No person wants to witness...