Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

Ethos Pathos Logos Chart

Aristotle coined the terms ethos, logos, and pathos as the three main modes of persuasion. These are used in theatre, in literature, and tons of other practices. When actors are learning acting styles and methods, they learn about the three modes of persuasion to better their skills and create a more authentic production.

When an actor is on stage, they have the responsibility of being believable or credible. Their goal is to convince the audience of their credibility, and these three forms of persuasion are important tools actors use to do so.

To successfully persuade, you look to the three appeals. These are Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. Read on to learn more about the three modes of persuasion.

Ethos Appeal: Appealing to Ethics

Ethos is the ethical appeal, and it means to convince an audience of the author’s credibility or character. An actor would use ethos to prove to his audience that he’s credible and worth listening to. An actor appealing to ethos would use the same language as their character, and try to dress exactly like them.

Actor in Wig with Glasses and bandana

Logos Appeal: Appealing to Logic

Logos is the appeal to logic, meaning to convince the audience by using logic or reason. An actor may cite facts or statistics. An actor may appeal to logos by presenting logical or well rounded points, may cite important information, or may refer to historical analogies for explanations and proof.

Pathos Appeal: Appealing to Emotion

Pathos is the emotional appeal, meaning to convince an audience through appealing on emotional levels. Actors may evoke sympathy to try make the audience feel how the author intended for them to feel. They aim to get a certain emotion out of their actions when appealing to pathos. Pathos can be expressed by actors through language, emotional tones, or emotional events or implications.

These forms of persuasion immensely help actors sell their character. Persuasion helps the audience to believe and understand the plot and action of the production. Strong productions rely on the effective use of these persuasion techniques. By studying each mode, actors can learn how to better their styles and increase their overall credibility while on stage.

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