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...

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 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.


favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Proctor insists on reason and logic when dealing with the sick girls despite others' superstition and belief in rumor.  Rebecca Nurse initially tries to reassure the Putnams that children simply have "silly seasons" and that "you can never catch [a child's spirit] by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back."  He agrees that this more sensible, less superstitious way of handling the children is most appropriate and most logical, saying, "Aye, that's the truth of it, Rebecca."  Proctor very much relies on logos in his thinking and his dealings with others. 

Proctor does also rely on pathos when it feels appropriate to him.  In his argument with Parris about what is and is not appropriate in church, he asks, "Can you speak one minute without we land in Hell again?  I am sick of Hell!"  He seems to feel that the minister's services should offer more than threats and complaints; he seems to desire that church would help him to feel uplifted rather than beat down.  When Parris argues with him, Proctor says, "I may speak my heart, I think!"  In this appeal to emotions and the use of emotions in his argument, he uses pathos.

As far as ethos, Proctor's moral and ethical considerations emerge when discussing Abigail with his wife, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth gets upset when John reveals that he was alone with Abigail for a few moments when he had not told her so before.  His anger rising, he says,

You will not judge me more, Elizabeth. . . . Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day [I confessed my affair with Abigail].  But you're not, you're not, and let you remember it!  Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.

He insists that Elizabeth has no moral right to judge him for his mistakes since she is not perfect herself.  Such an argument relies on ethos.

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The Crucible

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