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Example Of Pathos In Vertigo

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In Boileau-Narcejac’s novel Vertigo, Roger, the protagonist, is a shell of his former self, blinded by his own insecurities, fixations, and fears, leaving him an easy target for manipulation. Seeing the opportunity, Gevigne, the novel’s antagonist, uses Aristotle’s art of pathos to persuade and demean Roger’s image for his own selfish gain, leading to Roger’s downward spiral and unhealthy obsession with Madeleine. With Gevigne’s expertise on Roger’s broken past, his use of pathos follows Roger throughout the course of the novel, stripping him of any logic, whether it be with the use of friendship, pity, or confusion. From the start of the novel, Roger is already at a low point in his mental stability, fixated on the death of his former partner due to his vertigo. He feels responsible--hopeless, even in his career and journey. Roger himself states that he is “a prey to the mysterious inner pendulum which swung from despair to hope, from misery to joy, from time to audacity” (Boileau-Narcejac 73). This proves that Roger is an easily suaded individual, for his lack of self esteem makes it that he relies on others for his worth. Leeching onto Roger’s rampant emotional instability, Gevigne provides a sense of normalcy and familiarity to Roger by returning into his life, entrusting him with a daring secret. To begin his appeal to pathos, Gevigne proclaims that he always “thought of [him] as one of [his] oldest friends” (Boileau-Narcejac 19). By establishing this connection,
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