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How do the forms of rhetoric (logos, ethos, and pathos) play a part in The Crucible?If...

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carson94 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:22 AM via web

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How do the forms of rhetoric (logos, ethos, and pathos) play a part in The Crucible?

If you have any quotes from the story that would be nice...I have a few examples but I'm not sure if I'm on the right track

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 26, 2010 at 6:32 AM (Answer #1)

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These three forms of rhetoric cross each other in the character of John Proctor. I think he is depicted as the everyman person who makes mistakes but wants to do the right thing and be an honorable person if at all possible.

I see logos (a logical perspective) in Proctor in many one-liners throughout the text. He tries to achieve understanding amongst parties in discussion by pointing out simple facts. He does so particularly effectively with Rev. Parris in Act I when Putnam is getting pushy. Putnam tries to throw his land weight around to get his way and Proctor reminds him:

You cannot command Mr. Parris. We vote by name in this society, not by acreage.

Further in the text, Putnam challenges Proctor for not being at church, again Proctor comes in with a fact, a truth:

There are many others who stay away from church these days because [he] hardly ever mentions God anymore.

Ethos (an awareness of the ethical and moral necessities within a person) is demonstrated through Proctor's efforts to rebirth his marriage. He could have Abigail. She continues to pursue him after their affair ended months ago. But despite her advances in Act I (They both have great one liners in there for quotes) he refuses to be tempted again. When she mentions Elizabeth, his moral indignation rises and he defends his woman.

Pathos (a person's emotional perspective) displays itself through Proctor as well. Proctor's anger about all that is going on spurs from his ethos, his stance that what is going on is wrong. In Act I, Proctor calls it like he sees it with Rebecca Nurse as they believe the girls are pretending. No one else seems to see it, but this everyman is willing to stand trial eventually and risk his life for truth. Throughout his journey his anger is displayed at Abby, Parris and the magistrates.

 

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