Pathos is a quality of a life experience, or a work of art, that arouses emotions of pity, sympathy and sadness. Pathos can be expressed through words, pictures or even with body gestures.
Pathos is an important persuasion tool in arguments. Pathos is a method of convincing people with an elaborate argument through an emotional response. Analyzing examples of pathos, it is concluded that it differs from other "ingredients of persuasion", namely "ethos" and "logos". Ethos means convincing others through the credibility of a persuader, while logos is a method of convincing others using logic and reason.
“If we don't get out of this place soon, we'll be screaming for help. There is no one to help us here, let's get out of here and live. "- This statement evokes emotions of fear.
The" Made in America "label on various products sold in the United States attempts to improve sales by appealing to the sense of patriotism of the clients.
Ads promoting charitable donations show that young children, in appalling conditions, evoke compassion in people.
The reference to a country as "motherland" arouses patriotic feelings in those living in that country or state.
A gentle instrumental symphony can make people emotional irritate.
Examples of Pathos in Literature
Let us turn to the literature to trace some examples of pathos:
Example 1: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (by Mark Twain)
Consider this excerpt from Chapter 8 by Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:
Er meant the best in the world and treated like a dog - like a dog. She would be sorry one day - maybe when it was too late. Ah, if only he could die temporarily!
Here, Tom inspires pity in the readers Telling how the girl he loved treated him like an animal despite his honest feelings for her. He wished he had died and then she would feel sorry for him.
Example 2: Pride and Prejudice (By Jane Austen)
Jane Austen's “Pride and Prejudice” is known for its pathos. Collins' confession to Elizabeth that he wants her to be his future partner evokes feelings of sympathy in readers, as they feel an emotional intensity in his proposal.
Believe me, dear Miss Elizabeth, her modesty adds to her other perfections. I can hardly doubt the object of my speech, however your feminine delicacy can lead you to hide it, because as soon as I entered the house, I chose you as the companion of my future life!
Example # 3: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)
Consider this excerpt from Act V of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare:
So she is fine and nothing can be sick
Her body sleeps in the Capels monument,
AND his immortal part with the angels lives on. Romeo's servant Baltasar invokes pity among the public when he informs Romeo, that he was waiting impatiently to hear from Juliet, that Juliet is dead and buried in her family vault.
Example # 4: Ol 'Man River (by Paul Robeson)
These lines are taken from Ol' Man River, a lyric composed by Paul Robeson:
Darkies work in Mississippi
Darkies work while the whites play
We are overwhelmed with pity for the American blacks ["Darkies"] who were enslaved by American whites ["white people"]. The contrast of the words "work" and "play" shows the social disparity between the two races.
Example # 5: I know why the caged bird sings (by Maya Angelou)
In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou , pathos is created by presenting a contrast between "the free bird" and "a caged bird."
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the gentle trade winds through the trees sighing
and the fat worms waiting on a bright dawn lawn
and gives the sky its name as its own
bird standing on the grave of dreams
its shadow he screams in a nightmare scream
his wings are severed and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
In this excerpt, we see that the bold words above are associated with a bird in a cage, which makes us feel sorry for that bird miserable.
Role of Pathos
Humans are emotional beings and writers know this very well, they introduce pathos in their works to touch our delicate senses of mercy, sympathy, pain, trying to develop an emotional connection with readers.
In addition, emotions are part of real life; therefore, by giving pathological expression in their works, writers bring their narratives, characters, and themes closer to real life. a debater in an argument draws people emotionally, making him a tool to convince people and change their opinions.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw