From LitWiki

Ethos in rhetoric refers to the character of a speaker, or the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.

Ethos is also the credibility of the speaker, or what authority the speaker has. Ethos is most commonly used in reference to logos and pathos as well. All three pieces form rhetoric.

Marcus Fabius Quintilian used pathos to describe violent emotions, and ethos, to describe calmer emotions.

Literary Terms

Works Cited

  • Aristotle. A Theory of Civic Discourse On Rhetoric. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Harmon, William. A Handbook to Literature. Ninth Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002.
  • Russel, D.A. Ancient Literary Criticism. New York : Oxford University Press, 1972.
  • Steele , Felicia. "Rhetoric and Argument: A Review." The College of New Jersey. 2/20/06.