Pathos Examples


Pathos is an argument that appeals to a reader's emotions. Many speech writers use pathos rather than facts or logic to appeal to the emotions of an audience.

Pathos can also be found in the images associated with words. Many advertisements contain emotional appeals.

Examples of Pathos:

Advertisement about donating to a charity includes scenes of emaciated children and the words, "For just $1.00 a day, you can feed a starving child."

Politician is pictured holding a child, while a voice talks about his opponent's stance on abortion.

Grocery store commercial shows a grandmother and granddaughter baking a cake together just before the entire family arrives for Thanksgiving dinner.

Examples of Pathos in Literature and Speech:

From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream:

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

From Maya Angelou's "Caged Bird":

"The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing."

Related Links:
Literary Terms Examples