Difference Between Pathos & Bathos

What Does Pathos Mean?

Pathos, an adjective derived from the noun pathetic, is synonymous with words like pity, sorrow, suffering, tenderness, and obsolete. Originating from the Greek words paschein and pathein, pathos dates back to 1591. It refers to the power or ability to evoke feelings of pity and compassion in real-life experiences or in literature. Pathos is commonly used when discussing a piece of art or literature, such as a play, painting, or poem, that can create emotions in the audience.

What Does Bathos Mean?

Bathos, originating from the Greek language, has a more complex setting than pathos. The literary meaning of bathos is depth, with its etymology dating back to 1727. Unlike pathos, bathos does not convey a feeling; instead, it is an effect created by an unintentional lapse of the creator. Bathos is also known as insincere or overdone pathos, which can be defined as sentimentalism. It typically involves an anticlimax or a switch to a commonplace style from a highly stylized form. In writing, speech, or a play, bathos is the sudden change from a serious, deeply moving, important act to a foolish or trivial episode.

Key Takeaways

  • Pathos is about evoking pity and sympathy, while bathos refers to a sudden change from a serious, deeply moving, important act to a foolish or trivial episode in a literary work.
  • Pathos creates an emotional connection with the audience, while bathos can create awe, stupidity, and humor at the same time.
  • Bathos has a more complex meaning than pathos, as it is an effect of anticlimax created by a lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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