Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric (where it is considered one of the three modes of persuasion, alongside ethos and logos), and in literature, film and other narrative art.
Emotional appeal can be accomplished in a multitude of ways:
- by a metaphor or story telling, common as a hook
- by a general passion in the delivery and an overall emotion and sympathies of the speech or writing as determined by the audience. The pathos of a speech or writing is only ultimately determined by the listeners/readers.
Arguing that the city shouldn't demolish the park to build a mall because it would make adorable puppies sad is an example of an argument that uses pathos. Inherent to the argument is the notion that people love happy adorable puppies and hate adorable puppies to be sad.