Ethos is the hardest rhetorical approach to
define, because it doesn't translate well into English.
John Gage, in The Shape of Reason, defines
it as "authority." Ethos does include authority,
but it also includes something of charisma and individual
character. It is whatever inspires trust in an audience.
Basically, ethos involves three traits:
Rhetors must show themselves to be honest individuals
of good moral character who sincerely believe what
must show themselves be competent, intelligent individuals
who know the material or subject-matter they are talking
or writing about.
Rhetors must show themselves
to be open-minded individuals who write, not merely
out of personal interest, but because they are also
concerned about the audience's best interest or well-being.