Rhetorical Analysis with Comics

16.10.19 09:16 PM By Jared Shaw

Rhetorical Analysis with Comics

What are the three rhetorical devices and how do you teach rhetorical analysis to students using comics in the classroom? Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, while the rhetor is the speaker or writer who is attempting to persuade the audience. Aristotle argued that there were three elements of persuasion. In other words, there are three techniques a writer or speaker can use to effectively persuade the audience. Aristotle named the rhetorical techniques ethos, logos, and pathos. Use comic strip lesson plans to teach students to identify and use ethos, logos, and pathos in persuasive and expository writing and speaking.


Ethos means credibility or trust. The rhetor uses ethos to convince the reader by citing credible sources or by establishing his or her own credibility through professional titles or tone. When using ethos, the speaker may list their source’s or their own educational or professional degrees. They may also attempt to use a formal or even condescending tone. Ethos is often used in scientific, medical or academic studies and reports.


Logos means reason or logic. The rhetor simply uses logical, organized, irrefutable arguments by referencing facts, studies, statistics, and logical or relatable analogies. Public speakers, professional debaters and common people most often use logos when attempting to make a point or “win” an argument.


Pathos means emotions or values. The rhetor sways the audience’s emotions using moving stories, vivid imagery and inspirational quotes. Political speeches, charitable organizations and advertisements most commonly use pathos to make their audience feel pity, outrage, motivation, enthusiasm or any other emotion that will motivate viewers to support their cause.

Ethos, Logos and Pathos with Comics

Students can practice identifying or writing their own examples of ethos, logos and pathos using comics in the classroom. Have students create three comic strips for each type of rhetorical device or one comic strip for all three types of rhetoric. First, have students illustrate a mnemonic comic or anchor chart to remember the meaning of ethos, logos and pathos. Second have students read and watch texts and speeches rich with rhetorical devices. For example, have students read Martin Luther King’s “Letter to a Birmingham Jail” or “I Have a Dream” Speech. Alternatively, watch a political debate or Presidential address. As students read, have them illustrate a storyboard or mind map to track every example of ethos, logos and/or pathos in each text or speech. Finally, have students practice writing their own persuasive ethos, logos and pathos by illustrating dialogue bubbles in a comic strip.

By actively illustrating and visualizing comics, students will more successfully understand and remember how to analyze and write persuasive essays and speeches. Use Pixton Comic Maker’s “Teaching Rhetoric with Ethos, Logos and Pathos” lesson plan and student activities to easily teach rhetorical analysis with comics.