Pathos is an emotional appeal, it coincides with the purpose. The author should choose to evoke the best emotion that goes along with their purpose, usually to act upon something. A good pathos appeal makes the audience care about the topic.

Pathos "3 heads"

  • Cause: thing that causes the emotion.
  • Target: the person to whom emotion is directed.
  • Frame of mind: pleasure/pain.

How to connect with your audience successfully

  • Select emotional themes and points
  • Choose words that add emotional emphasis
  • Tell stories
  • Use humor
  • Connect through visuals
  • Model emotion with your delivery
  • Analyze your audience
  • Evoke surprise or curiousity
  • Use of vivid, sensory words
  • Connect with your eyes
  • Eliminating competing emotions in the audience while also being cautious of the emotions already in the audience.

Analyzing Pathos Appeals

  • Notice effect
  • Identify emotion (quickly)
  • Explain how/why it's evoked
  • Evaluate effectiveness

Evaluating pathos appeals

You can assess the effectiveness of pathos appeals by whether or not it is good or bad, visually, establishing ethos before making pathos, or intentionally demonstrating good

  • find the emotion
  • determine the intentions
  • figure out the cause
  • and most importantly: start with emotion first rather than the words themselves.


In Aristotle's 2nd and 3rd books we looked at some of it for pathos.


cause: slight
target: the slighter
frame of mind: pain


cause: act of generosity/ good morals
target: non slighter/ humble person
frame of mind: pleasure


cause: friendly feeling
target: friend (someone who wishes the best for each other)
frame of mind: pleasure


cause: anger/spite
target: enemy
frame of mind: pain


cause: destructive/painful evils, expectation of being in danger
target: person with possession of power (usually a stronger person or a rival)
frame of mind: pain


cause: absence of alarming circumstances, presence of inspiring safety
target: non-rival party
frame of mind: pleasure


cause: doing morally bad things
target: person who has done the morally bad thing
frame of mind: pain


cause: doing/ not doing bad things
target: person who has/ has not done bad things
frame of mind: pleasure


cause: craving to constitute a non-personal need
target: person in need
frame of mind: pleasure


cause: craving to constitute a personal need
target: yourself
frame of mind: pleasure


cause: having empathy for those slighted/ in pain on the undeserving
target: person with pain/ misfortune
frame of mind: pain


cause: slight of unmerited prosperity
target: the prospering people
frame of mind: pain


cause: slight of others with better fortune
target: an equal competitor with better fortune
frame of mind: pain


cause: seeing a like person with valuables that are attainable
target: person in possession of high valued things
frame of mind: pain/pleasure

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