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Pathos is a quality or form of argument in a work or portion of a text that makes the reader experience emotions. Usually the work or piece of text tries to make the reader and/or audience feel pity, sorrow, tenderness, or sympathy. The word pathos itself comes from the Greek word for “emotion,” “passion,” or “suffering.” Therefore, when you think of pathos, you should always think about how a piece of text or literature is using emotion and feeling to influence your opinion about what you are watching or reading. Pathos is a device of persuasion to convince you to think a certain way through feelings.
We can use the adjective pathetic to describe a work or character that uses pathos to influence the audience. Pathetic characters are those characters in stories that are innocent, helpless, victims of circumstance, or victims through nothing of their own doing.
Writers and film-makers utilize pathos heavily because they know that all humans feel a large range of emotions. Since it is easier to appeal to someone’s emotions than to convince someone through logic or reason, writers often appeal to emotions to more easily convince readers to their argument. Writers also appeal to emotions to convince audiences and readers to continue to watch a movie or read a book. If an audience is emotionally involved in the story, and if the audience is emotionally invested, they will be more likely to like what they see and continue to watch or read.
Where might you see the use of pathos in real life aside from books and movies? Speakers, especially motivational speakers, use pathos to emotionally move their audience. A world leader might appeal to the emotions of their country or nation to convince them to vote or re-elect the leader. Military leaders might appeal to the emotion of their soldiers, trying to make them feel bravery and urgency to secure their country and loved ones. A more harsh leader might appeal to the fear or the citizens within their nation. We see pathos almost exclusively in advertisements. Adverts, like weight-loss advertisements, might appeal to someone’s shame. Adverts for beauty products might appeal to insecurities, but they might also appeal to our sense of pride in beauty and want of feeling beautiful.
Speakers and writers may use pathos when they have no other evidence or way to support their argument. However, pathos can be used in combination with logic and other hard evidence, making the emotional appeal harder to recognize. On the other hand, poetry is a form of literature that almost exclusively relies on pathos and lacks evidence or logic. This makes sense since poetry is primarily about feelings and emotions.
The following are examples of pathos:
- A charity to help homeless children showing pictures of children who are malnourished, filthy, and/or without shoes. The audience should feel sympathy and sadness for the children.
- An advertisement for a new car with a famous actor driving it but evoke feelings of envy or desire, especially desire to have the newest model of car or to have something that the famous person has.
- A poet may write about how his wife died and he feels incredible sadness. The poet tries to evoke pity and sadness for his loss.
- A president may talk about attacks on the country or terrorism to make citizens feel unsafe and afraid for their families. This sense of fear may be a way to gain voters or confidence in his position as president.
- A teacher may talk to students about how he/she was also frustrated with a specific topic when he/she was young. The teacher may be trying to evoke a sense of camaraderie with the student to evoke a sense of confidence and perseverance. The teacher may also evoke the student’s sense of pride in completing schoolwork.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use pathos worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what pathos is and how it can be used. You can use these pathos worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Pathos Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 17, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.