Albert Camus

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Explain ethos, logos, and pathos for Albert Camus’s “Banquet Speech.” Provide a rhetorical analysis.

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The address that Albert Camus wrote for accepting the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature is usually known as the “Banquet Speech” because he presented it at the awards banquet, and the address contains several instances of the use of ethos, logos, and pathos that could be referenced in a rhetorical analysis.

Camus uses ethos, an appeal to ethics or morality, when he claims that “the writer’s role is not free from difficult duties.” He continues by stating that the writer can connect himself to a large community through devoting his craft to “the service of truth and the service of liberty.”

Logos is an appeal based on reason or logic. Camus’s use of logos can be seen in the ways he backs up the ethos-based claims about the writer’s duty. If one accepts that the writer’s “task is to unite the greatest possible number of people,” it logically follows that “art must not compromise with lies and servitude.”

Pathos relies on emotion to move or convince the reader. Camus employs pathos early in the speech when he mentions the emotional impact of receiving the award. By posing questions, he tries to engage the audience in the emotional connection he feels with others, especially other writers. Referring to himself in the third person as a man with “doubts” who has experienced “inner turmoil,” he asks,

With what feelings could he accept this honor at a time when other writers in Europe, among them the very greatest, are condemned to silence, and even at a time when the country of his birth is going through unending misery?

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