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ETHOS Argument by Character
Establishing Ethos: Decorum “You persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea: identifying your ways with his.” - Kenneth Burke
Establishing Ethos: Decorum • 1- Decorum • Rhetorical decorum is the art of fitting in anywhere. • Decorum tells the audience: Do as I say AND as I do.” • “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” • To show proper decorum, act the way your audience expects you to act– not necessarily like your audience.
Establishing Ethos: Decorum Tips. • 1- Before you begin to argue, ask yourself: What do they expect? • 2- Don’t assume a character that strays too far from your own. • 3- Adapt to the particular occasion. • 4- When in doubt, use camouflage.
Establishing Ethos: Decorum • Persuasion doesn’t depend on being true to yourself. It depends on being true to an audience. • 9/11 Bullhorn speech • Night of 9/11
Establishing Ethos: Make Them Like You • Virtue= The Audience believes you share their values. • A person who upholds the values of a group is rhetorically virtuous.
Establishing Ethos: Make Them Like You Virtues Example: Bill Clinton • Values change from audience-to-audience. • You must be seen to have the “right” values.
Establishing Ethos: Make Them Like You • How to pump up your rhetorical virtues for an audience: • 1- Bragging • 2- Character References Joe Biden (start 4:30) • 3- Reveal a tactical flaw- show some defect that shows your dedication to the audience’s values • George Washington: Forgive me, gentlemen, for my eyes have grown dim in the service of my country. • Switch sides when the powers that be do. • When you know you will lose, preempt your opponent by taking his side.
Establishing Ethos: Show Leadership • Practical Wisdom: The audience should consider you a sensible person, as well as sufficiently knowledgeable to deal with the problem at hand. • Use the kind of common sense that gets things done. • An instinct for making the right decision on every occasion. • “Street Smarts.”
Establishing Ethos: Show Leadership • How to get an audience to trust your decision: • 1- Show off your experience.
Establishing Ethos: Show Leadership • How to get an audience to trust your decision: • 1- Show off your experience. • 2- Bend the Rules (if you have no other choice)
Establishing Ethos: Show Leadership • How to get an audience to trust your decision: • 1- Show off your experience. • 2- Bend the Rules (if you have no other choice) • Seem to take the middle course. • It helps to make the audience think your adversary’s position is extreme.
Establishing Ethos: Win Their Trust • “Disinterested Goodwill” combines selflessness and likability.
Establishing Ethos: Win Their Trust Disinterested Uninterested
Establishing Ethos: Win Their Trust • Disinterested= Free of any special interest. • How to make your audience believe in your selflessness: • The reluctant conclusion= Seem to deal reluctantly with something you are really eager to prove. (p. 73) • The personal sacrifice= Act as if the choice you advocate for hurts you personally. (p. 74) • Dubitatio= Make it seem you have no tricks. • Show doubt in your Rhetorical skills.
Establishing Ethos: Win Their Trust • Make it seem as though you have no tricks: • Dubitatio=Dubious. • A knowledgeable audience tends to sympathize with a clumsy speaker and even mentally argue his case for him. • Lincoln’s country-bumpkin image disguised a brilliant political analyst who could speak lucidly about the issues. • His ethos made the audience trust his sincerity while doubting his intellect– until he showed them his intellect. • In argument, you don’t rest on you personality and reputation, you perform them.