In Ethos is the credibility or trustworthiness that

InAncient Greece, rhetoric and the art of public speaking was primarily a meansto persuade. The Greek society relied heavily on oral expression, which alsoincludes the ability to inform and give speeches of praise, known then asepideictic speeches (to praise or blame someone). Around 508 BC, Cleisthenescreated the Assembly (a democratic, policy-making body) and in effect, a newdemocratic polis was adopted. “Thenature of the system demanded participation in civic affairs. And the natureof the system demanded that citizens speak. It rapidly became apparent that theprimary political skill of the age was the ability to speak effectively forone’s interests.

The Greeks developed the concept of rhetoric to describe theart and process of effective public speaking” (Rhetorica.net).Civicaffairs and disputes were settled with words, therefore, presenting an oralcase effectively was crucial.

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A man’s success and influence in ancient Athensdepended on his rhetorical ability (McKay). Atthis time, the Sophists were known for teaching young men how to speak anddebate, rendering an individual successful in their political life. Aristotle viewed rhetoric as a useful tool inhelping audiences see and understand truth. InRhetoric, Aristotle defines rhetoric as”the faculty of observing in any given case theavailable means of persuasion.” While Aristotle favored persuasion throughreason alone, he recognized that at times an audience would not besophisticated enough to follow arguments based solely on scientific and logicalprinciples. In those instances, persuasive language and techniques werenecessary for truth to be taught.

Aristotle strongly enforced the need forrhetorical knowledge and developed systems of understanding and applyingrhetoric. He presented the three means of persuasion in Rhetoric: “The first kind depends on the personal character of thespeaker ethos; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame ofmind pathos; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the wordsof the speech itself logos.” The mode of persuasion “ethos” deals with thepersonal character of the speaker (the orator); this includes the style,behaviour and the attitude. How the individual is viewed has a very powerfulinfluence on whether or not they will successfully persuade the audience.

Ethosis the credibility or trustworthiness that an orator must establish in theircommunication. Secondly, “pathos” encompasses the emotional influence of thespeaker on the audience. In order to persuade, it is necessary for the speakerto elicit the appropriate emotions in the audience.

In situations where logicalarguments perhaps fail, emotions often have the power to motivate people torespond. As an audience’s emotions are influenced, it reduces their ability tobe critical and influences their judgement. Lastly, “logos” is the appealtowards logical reason. The orator should present their speech with content andargumentation that proves a truth to the audience and appears to be sound. AsRoland Barthes asserts in his essay TheSemiotic Challenge, “language is a power” (Barthes 14).

In his book, Rhetoric and Power, Nathan Crickpresents the idea that rhetoric is primarily a medium and artistry of power.With rhetoric, language is used to persuade and thus, create power. Language ispowerful and also serves power. Through the manner of speaking power can beattained and regarding rhetoric, “the command of language itself becomes ameans of power” (Weiß & Schwietring). By employing the three means ofpersuasion according to Aristotle, a speaker is able to persuade its audience (throughreasoning or argument). Effectively persuading renders success to the speakerand this is power.  

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