The accounts to illicit sympathy from those in attendance

The
holocaust was a time in history that brought great suffering, injustice, pain
and indifference. Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust knows this all too
well. In April of 1999 Mr. Wiesel was invited to the White House by Hillary
Clinton to be a participant in the Millennium Lectures. There, in the East room
he delivered his well-known speech, “The Perils of Indifference.” His speech,
directed at more than just the President and members of congress, was an
opportunity for him to take his own experience and appeal to the conscience of
his audience about the “indifference” still present in the world. He addresses the
people with facts and logic; but more than anything, his emotional account
makes Aristotle’s idea of pathos easily identifiable.

Mr.
Wiesel was the perfect speaker for this topic. His narration was so personal as
it included his own history. He uses his own examples to emotionally persuade the
audience and to attempt to gain some sympathy for the atrocities of the world. His
opening statement alone is a perfect example of pathos. He uses a memory of his
own to gain the attention of the listeners. He states ” Fifty-four years ago
to  the day, a young Jewish boy from a
small town in the Carpathian Mountains woke up, not far  from Goethe’s beloved Weimar, in a place of eternal
infamy called Buchenwald (Wiesel).”  He
sets the scene and then goes on to include the emotional tie by saying “he was
finally free, but there was no joy in his heart (Wiesel).”  Wiesel’s speech was an emotional argument because
of his extremely personal narration he chose to deliver on his own history. He
used these accounts to illicit sympathy from those in attendance in his attempt
to make his audience recognize and care for the issues he presented in the way he
does. He utilized his personal examples to compare them to present day issues
such as Kosovo as a means of emotional persuasion. Wiesel closes out as he had
begun with a recount of the child liberated from a Nazi concentration camp, but
took it a step further to aspire for a greater future. He left the audience
with stirred feelings and a deeper connection to his plea.

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Mr.
Wiesel’s persuasive speech not only utilized the concept of pathos, but he encompassed
Aristotle’s other concepts of ethos and even logos as well. Ethos, establishes
the credibility of the author and whether or not this particular individual is
appropriate or educated enough on the topic on which they are presenting. In
this case, Mr. Wiesel’s use of pathos directly and simultaneously demonstrates
ethos. His opening statements of his own accounts show that he himself had
experienced indifference first hand and can use his own history to relate to
modern day problems in the world. Mr. Wiesel’s experience during the holocaust
made him a credible speaker for the topic.

While
ethos and pathos tied into one another and were clearly identifiable in the
piece, the less noticeable concept, but still present in his speech was logos.
Logos, addresses the logical appeal aspect of a piece and Mr. Wiesel was able
to speak to the reasoning of the audience by including some facts into his
speech. Wiesel speaks on a specific incident during the Holocaust in which
cargo of Jews was not allowed into the United States, to display a rational
argument for the injustices of that time. He states “The depressing tale of St.
Louis is case in point. Sixty years ago, its human cargo — nearly 1,000 Jews
— was turned back to Nazi Germany. And that happened after the Kristallnacht,
after the first state sponsored program, with hundreds of Jewish shops
destroyed, synagogues burned, thousands of people put in concentration camps.
And that ship, which was already in the shores of the United States, was sent
back (Weisel).” He goes on to name a few other times in history in which injustice
is present. His hope is that by pointing out the injustices of the past that
attention will be brought to the injustices of the present and prevention of
injustice in the future.

The
theme of Mr. Wiesel’s piece, injustice, came as no surprise. He made the speech
personal for the audience instead of just preaching to them about the
indifference the world has shown to numerous issues. He pleads to not confuse
indifference and innocence, he stresses the failures of the past to encourage a
future where history does not repeat itself. His speech was well organized and
tested the morality and character of all. He closed out as he had begun with a
recount of the child liberated from a Nazi concentration camp, but took it a
step further to aspire for a greater future. In his powerful closing statement,
he said “together we walk towards the new millennium, carried by profound fear
and extraordinary hope (Wiesel).”