How Does Atticus Use Ethos In To Kill A Mockingbird

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“This case is as simple as black and white.” (Atticus) In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus delivers a closing argument for the books. When innocent black man Tom Robinson is accused of rape, Mr. Atticus Finch steps up to defend him. The town of Maycomb was doubtful of Atticus’ power of persuasion, but that would not stop him from striking a match in his closing argument that would set ablaze the heads of many. In his closing argument, Atticus used the rhetorical devices-- ethos, logos, and pathos-- to convince the jury of Tom’s innocence.

At times, Atticus would use the rhetorical device ethos to reassure the jury of his credibility. Throughout the testimonies given by the witnesses, several accounts of discontinuation
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His additions of personal opinions and emotions allow him to tug on the heartstrings of the jury. In the beginning of the argument, he makes himself clear by saying, “I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the state…” (Atticus, p.4) Consequently, the citizens of Maycomb were quick to judge, but were left with very much food for thought. As he went on to explain the severity of what both Tom and Mayella did, he was poignant in stressing that Tom was just as much a human being as anyone else was. While many felt his color would surely determine his fate, Atticus was persistent in emphasizing his entitled equality. About half-way through his speech, Atticus states: “And so a quiet, respectable, humble Negro who had the unmitigated temerity to ‘feel sorry’ for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people’s. I need not remind you of their appearance and conduct on the stand---you saw them for yourselves.” (Atticus, p.9) By doing so, Atticus suggested several things concerning the actions of Mr. Ewell and simultaneously triggered the sympathetic votes for Tom from the courtroom. Furthermore, his second to last sentence is a subtle, yet clear, last try at preserving Tom’s human rights. He explains, “I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this defendant to his family.” (Atticus, p.13) With his emotions evident and his case on the line, this would be his last chance to win the jury over. As seen above, the method of pathos was an imperative component in Atticus’