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The pathos (in the 17th century borrowed from the Greek neuter πάθος páthos "experience, passion (shame)", to the verb πάσχειν pás-che-in "experience / experience, suffer / endure" [ opposite word : "do it yourself"]) in rhetoric a means of persuasion of speech. Since its first systematic definition in Greek rhetoric, which is fundamental to all subsequent traditions, the word has seen many changes in meaning. Colloquially, it is understood today to be an emotional, theatrical and tendentially exaggerated form of articulation.

Classic rhetoric

In classical rhetoric since Aristotle , pathos is one of the three means of persuasion in speech . While pathos directs the speech towards the audience as an emotional appeal , ethos draws its power of persuasion from the speaker's integrity . The Pragmata (see logo ) finally are arguments that are taken out of the thing itself. Any topic can be focused on one of the three poles of the speech - or all of them together - to convince. The respective means of persuasion correspond to special techniques at the level of linguistic design ( elocutio ) . Pathos can be achieved e.g. B. with daring metaphors , with figures of overwhelming, with aposiopeses or aporias . At the level of the lecture ( actio ) the voice guidance, facial expressions and gestures of the speaker can contribute to the pathos of the speech. In Aristotle's poetics , pathos describes all the emotional acts of tragedy .

In the Roman adaptations of the Greek doctrine of rhetoric ( Cicero , Quintilian ), pathos increasingly only refers to the extreme, overwhelming affect effects generated by speech, while ethos now refers to the moderate emotional effects. With Cicero and Quintilian, the means of persuasion is also associated with a specific task ( movere , "move") and a style . The sublime style corresponds to the pathos  - genus grande . In the text On the Sublime ( Péri Hýpsous ), which was previously attributed to a certain Longinus, the pathetic style that gives expression to passions is at the same time a possible expression of the sublime. The criticism shifts into a distinction between appropriate and inappropriate pathos, which Longinus describes as frosty, pompous or pseudo- frenzy ( parenthyrson ). Ultimately, only the genius of the speaker can guarantee the adequacy of the pathos - an idea that formed the basis of Longin's rediscovery in the 18th century .

As a potential danger ( manipulation ) oratorial pathos is limited by the rhetoric itself to special topics and always subordinated to the ethical integrity of the speaker and the actual arguments. On the other hand, philosophers like Plato also repeatedly point out the dangers associated with affects - and their stimulation through speech and literature  .

Friedrich Schiller: The pathetically sublime

With Friedrich Schiller , the pathetically sublime becomes a privileged aesthetic figuration . In it human freedom is revealed, which art makes tangible when it develops resistance to suffering. Pathos now describes an effect that results from overcoming suffering, no longer the latter itself. Basically, Schiller ties experiences of suffering to “great ideas” - especially the idea of ​​freedom. In this sense, the exclamation of Milton's Lucifer, who looks around hell and exclaims: "Heil, horror, I greet you!", Is pathetic. Schiller's definition of the term has an impact to this day, so that articulations that express the overcoming of an experience of suffering are perceived as pathetic. In contemporary film it sounds like this:

“I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship - but it is not this day. This day we fight! "

“In your eyes I see that fear that also makes me despair. The day may come when people lose their courage, when we abandon our companions and all friendship breaks ties - [...] but this day is still far away, because today we are fighting! "

Pathos in the present / pathos in the film

Pathos is currently under suspicion and has become a (derogatory) catchphrase , for example in film and literary criticism. Corresponding to the differentiation of the concepts of pathos, this suspicion can be directed against extremely different phenomena. It is not only based on new forms of emotion criticism , but is also based on the great narratives ( Lyotard ) with which the style is traditionally associated: for example, Schiller's idea of ​​freedom. In this sense z. For example, the films by American producer Jerry Bruckheimer - mostly perceived by European viewers - as pathetic, as they combine impressive cinematic means with an emphatic relationship to concepts such as nation , heroism or home .

If, on the other hand, “pathetic” is used in the sense of “ theatrical ”, this points back to a traditional skepticism of style that is based on the opposition of authenticity and artificiality . For example, literary sensitivity in the 18th century called for simple language as the expression of “true” emotionality, as a result of which elaborate “pathetic” language techniques , such as those perfected in the Baroque , fell into disrepute. In a similar way, contemporary author-filmmakers try to create pathos in the sense of “authentic” overwhelming emotionality, especially by restricting cinematic technology ( Dogma 95 ). The suspicion of manipulation, which the Germans often respond to pathetic forms of articulation, is based primarily on criticism of the rhetoric of National Socialism after 1945 .

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Pathos  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence