The Greater of Two Persuasions
Exceptional persuasive writings must contain a well executed use of Aristotle’s Rhetorical Appeals ethos, logos, and pathos. Patrick Henry’s “Speech in the Virginia Convention” and Benjamin Franklin’s “Speech in the Convention” are two tremendous examples of these appeals, however, Patrick Henry’s speech is the better of the two. In his speech, Henry is trying to convince the convention that war must be declared against Great Britain. Meanwhile, the context of Franklin’s speech is that he is giving his support of the Constitution. Henry’s speech uses logos and pathos better than Franklin’s speech does, although Franklin uses ethos better than Henry. Since Henry uses two of the three appeals more effectively, his speech is superior.
Ethos is the ethical appeal of the speaker or author. It is used to make the speaker seem more credible or humble. An example of this in Henry’s speech is seen in the quote, “No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house” (Henry 187). By beginning his address this way, Henry makes himself seem respectful and gains the trust of the audience. However, Franklin uses ethos more often and more effectively. Franklin’s use of ethos is evident in the quote, “Sir, I am not sure I shall never approve of it; for, having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change my opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but now found to be otherwise” (Franklin 191). In the quote, Franklin is saying that although he does not fully believe in the current condition of the Constitution, he is realizing that as he grows older, his opinions are changing and he is seeing that he is not always correct. This is a well executed example of ethos because by admitting that he is not always right, Franklin makes himself seem more human and less...
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