What is Ethos in Literature

What is Ethos in Literature

What is Ethos in Literature

In literature, ethos primarily pertains to the credibility of the author or the characters. It’s how an author or a character establishes and maintains trust with the reader or audience. Here’s a deeper look at ethos in the context of literature:

Authorial Ethos

This pertains to the reputation, credibility, and reliability of an author. For instance, a well-known scientist writing about a topic within their field of expertise would have strong ethos. Likewise, a novelist known for meticulous research would have ethos when describing historical or technical details.

Character Ethos

This pertains to how characters in a story establish their credibility or moral character. A character might be introduced with certain credentials, display honest behavior, or have other characters vouch for them. Their ethos can influence how readers or audiences perceive their subsequent actions and statements.

Narrative Ethos

The narrative or the voice telling the story also needs credibility. For instance, in a first-person narrative, if the narrator is unreliable (intentionally or unintentionally), it can cast doubt on the entire narrative. On the other hand, if the narrative voice establishes itself as honest and consistent, it earns the reader’s trust.