Persuasion In The Iliad

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Persuasion is used in a multitude of everyday ways by diverse groups of people- from car salesmen to lawyers proving someone’s innocence and political candidates convincing an entire nation to vote for them. Oftentimes, persuasion must be used used in dire wartime or life-threatening situations, as shown in the Iliad. Master speakers use three distinct methods of rhetoric- ethos, pathos, and logos, in order to accomplish their goal. The Iliad contains a variety of speeches to demonstrate these methods of rhetoric.
In the Iliad, Nestor is tasked with persuading Agamemnon and Achilles to settle their legendary dispute. Using ethos, Nestor appeals to the pair by saying, “You are both younger than I am” (Homer 1.274-275). Nestor, having been in a several battles and having experienced conflicts much like the one between Agamemnon and Achilles, hopes to ease tensions by using this
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“How could I stay here without you, my boy, all by myself?” (Homer 9.449-450) Phoenix laments to Achilles. Hoping to make Achilles feel guilty, Phoenix uses a rhetorical question in an attempt to extract a consensus from Achilles. By using key phrases such as “my boy” and “all by myself”, Phoenix hopes to make Achilles aware of the impact of his actions and the sorrow Achilles will inflict upon Phoenix if he refuses. In another address to Achilles, Phoenix cries out, “I made you what you are, my godlike Achilles, and loved you from my heart” (Homer 9.448-449). This phrase helps the reader understand Phoenix’s relation to Achilles and the care and devotion shown to Achilles, deepening the meaning of Phoenix’s appeal. Through the illustration of this unique ‘father-son’ bond, Homer hopes to make both the reader and Achilles feel impassioned. The address from Phoenix to Achilles demonstrates the importance of care and understanding when attempting to persuade

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