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The Elements of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Steve Jobs’ Stanford Speech

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The Elements of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Steve Jobs’ Stanford Speech Essay

 While analyzing Steve Job’s commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 it is obvious he conveyed a groundbreaking speech that united with the audience. This speech was exceptionally powerful because of the way he examined his audience and used what he already knew about college culture utilizing his experience as a previous student. He was aware of the components required for a presentation. However, more significantly Steve Jobs talked about something that can enable future alumni to explore this present reality. In Steve Job’s Stanford Address speech, the elements of Ethos, Pathos, Logos are very evident throughout.

The first element of rhetoric Steve Job’s unknowingly covers is Ethos. Ethos highlights on the credibility component. Questions one may ask to fulfill the needs of Ethos include; Who said this speech? Can I trust what the individual is saying? Steve Job being a prominent trustworthy figure himself delivering the speech is the first example of ethos since he can be considered a reliable source. Not only that but his speech is all about his life story. No one knows their life better than the person living it. The second reference to ethos is evident when Steve Jobs talks about dropping out of college, not graduating and taking initial steps to be a successful person he was. The uniqueness in Jobs’ proposition is discussing the necessary steps he took to become successful since he is not credible when it comes to talking about a college education. These ‘steps’ can be considered credible coming from a very successful entrepreneur. The validity of Jobs’ contemplations relies upon the introduction of his life foundation and encounters to help his thoughts.

Sharing his hardships not only forms the support of ethos, however an argument of pathos. Steve recounts to the tale of how he was terminated from the company he had owned. This was the second story out of the three that he had told. There is a clear indication of disappointment. Any audience regardless of who it is can relate to disappointment. By him sharing his story the audience feels a sense of connection. They recall the feelings he probably felt when he lost his company he worked so hard to build. In Jobs’ last story he talks about how close he was to die. He talks about how the doctors diagnosed him with an almost certainly type of incurable cancer. This generates another argument for pathos and brings emotions back into play. Since most people either know someone who has cancer or had cancer it certainly touches home. While attempting to demonstrate why life if so valuable and uncertain, he not only connects back to himself but also his audience to get emotions running.

Although logos are proven through statistics and facts there is no clear evidence of any type of statistics in Steve Job’s Stanford Address speech. Jobs’ speech is more of a life story. Despite there not being any statistics, Jobs’ did point out a few obvious facts. For example, he said ‘death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it’. This fact is known to humankind. It is a reality that every individual will one day face. Everyone’s time will come and they will no longer be on the face of this earth. The reason why he brought this topic up was that people often live their lives trying to satisfy others. The point he was trying to get across is that there is a limited amount of time and that there is no time to waste. Logos can also be found when Jobs’ talk about what would happen if he did not take the calligraphy class. Steve Jobs had said, ‘If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts’. This is quite true since he was the first to add these features to any computer. He goes on to say that Microsoft copied the Mac and that it would very likely that no personal computers would have them. Without Steve job’s there may have never been multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts which would have changed the way we type today.

The adequacy of Jobs’ speech can be clarified through the choice of topic and utilization of the audience. The speaker realized that he was entrusted to talk within the sight of graduates. Consequently, he wrote the speech to consider the requirements of the audience. In his speech, Steve Jobs accomplishes the principal objectives by concentrating on ethos, pathos, and logos. Steve displays his creative vision of his profession and interests in existence with references to the thoughts of death and adoration and supports it with personal realities. 

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The Elements Of Ethos, Pathos, And Logos In Steve Jobs’ Stanford Speech. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 7, 2023, from
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