The fact that speakers and writers deliberately play on the emotions of their audiences cannot be escaped. This has not only produced a traditional distrust of rhetoric, but also associated it with insincerity, irrationality and rabble-rousing. Yet it would be odd if people seeking to persuade did not appeal to the audience’s emotions! How we feel about an issue relates to our understanding of it, though we should also bear in mind the perspectives of ethos and logos. As we all know from experience, conveying emotion can present difficulties in interaction with people whose ideas and feelings seem alien to our own. Conversely, we know how easy it is to communicate emotion to those we are in sympathy with. This familiar experience provides a starting-point for our discussion.
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