Rhetorical Analysis Report


RhetoricalAnalysis Report

RhetoricalAnalysis Report

Toexplore the concept of ethos, pathos and logos, this paper willanalyze the video from the military video “Gettysburg” featuringColonel Joshua Chamberlain. In the video, Colonel Chamberlainaddresses military mutineers, informing them to make a militarydecision on their progress in the war (Chamberlain, n.d). The speechtakes place in a typical war environment, where Colonel Chamberlainchanges the perception, attitude and actions of mutineer militaryofficers to resume their battle.

Thestyle that Colonel Chamberlain employs invokes the main elements ofrhetoric and presents his full character as a military leader.According to Zhu(2005), good communication should invoke thethree aspects to match the emotions of the circumstance with instantresults. The reason for the selection of this video is because of theintensity of Colonel Chamberlain’s speech in regard to theseaspects.

Appealto Ethos

ColonelChamberlain’s speech invokes the aspect of ethics by describing tothe soldiers on how the country expects them to act carry themselves.Through the appeal, Colonel Chamberlain manages to be clear on theethics that has driven them to war and why the soldiers have to makea choice. According to Waller (2005), presenting a case on what isright and what is expected leaves the respondent with responsibilityto make a choice informed of the speaker’s values. The address byColonel Chamberlain applies this element of ethics and indirectlyinfluences the soldiers. He specifically states that most militaryofficers were not at war because they were supposed to but because itwas the right thing to do (Chamberlain, n.d).

Appealto Pathos

Whatsignificantly influences the decision of the soldiers to rejoin thewar is the emotion that Colonel Chamberlain’s speech leaves themwith. Colonel Chamberlain uses the memories of his personalexperience in the military to evoke the emotional aspect of thesoldiers. He specifically gives the soldiers the results of thecurrent circumstances against the expectations of the military.According to Garver(1994), theemotions of a person are best appealed when a situation is presentedto a person with a view of invoking their reasoning. In this case,Colonel Chamberlain presents the soldiers with a comparison of theirlove for their country and their current situation, which leads totheir emotional response.

Appealto Logos

Mostimportantly, Colonel Chamberlain presents a case of choosing what islogical and what is not, to the soldiers. He presents the choicesthat soldiers have and the results of each choice based on thecurrent situation of mutiny. For the soldiers, their currentsituation meant the loss of their career and subsequent trial,especially if their country lost the war. However, they werepresented with a logical way of deciding on the right thing to do.According to Aristotle (2010), logic provides the basis of decisionthat makes the most sense of a situation. Colonel Chamberlaindescribes the two choices and gives his personal efforts in assistingthe soldiers based on their choices. This gave the soldiers a basisof choosing the logical thing to join the fight and faceconsequences later.


Theuse of words and personal illustrations by Colonel Chamberlain invokethe three elements of appeal. Through his passionate address, ColonelChamberlain was able to change the perception, attitude and action ofthe soldiers from mutineers to determined soldiers. His speechinvoked their use of ethics in decision making, think logically whendeciding and respond to their emotions as per their situation asmutineers.


Garver,E. (1994). Aristotle`sRhetoric: An Art of Character.University of Chicago Press

Chamberlain,J. &quotColonelJoshua Chamberlain Speech&quot.YouTube Video, Retrieved From,&lthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d2_zeJTJcw&gtJune30, 2014

Planalp,S. (1999). CommunicatingEmotion: Social, Moral, and Cultural Processes. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Waller,B. (2005). ConsiderEthics:Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues.New York: Pearson Longman.

Zhu,Y. (2005). WrittenCommunication Across Cultures: A Sociocognitive Perspective onBusiness Genres.