Exploring the Means of Persuasion
In Act 1, scene viii, lines 3496, Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to murder Duncan using mostly pathos, or emotional persuasion. Macbeth is determined to not commit the murder, but Lady Macbeth attacks his manhood. Lady Macbeth says things she know will hurt Macbeth’s dignity and make him want to stick through with the plan. She says, “As thou art in desire?/
Wouldst thou have that/ Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, /And live a coward in thine own esteem,/ Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,” (1.7.4548). Calling Macbeth a coward appeals to Macbeth’s emotions and makes him decide to go kill Duncan, like he said he would.
Pathos is effective because using emotions is the easiest and quickest way to sway someone or persuade someone. Emotions are easily affected and people often make rash decisions based not on logic but emotions. Also, Lady Macbeth persuades him using Ethos. Although there were no specific lines that showed this, we know that Macbeth is Lady Macbeth’s husband. Husbands often listen to their wives and vice versa, which shows that her reputation in the play also played a part in her persuading Macbeth.
In Act 3, scene 1, lines 32162, Macbeth persuades his two murderers to murder Banquo using most logos, which is logical persuasion. He reasons with the murderers to explain to them why exactly they must kill Banquo. Macbeth tells them how Banquo is the root of all their problems and the