27(2) - 2015

Pathos dans le prétoire. Une analyse rhétorique d’un monologue judiciaire interprété

Emmanuelle Gallez and Anne Reynders


Pathos in the courtroom. A rhetorical analysis of an interpreter-mediated monologue.


This article draws on classical rhetoric to describe and analyze a legal monologue in Dutch and its interpretation into French. The corpus under scrutiny is the closing speech of the public prosecutor in a Belgian Assize court trial and its simultaneous whispered interpretation addressed to the defendant. The analysis of the prosecutor’s closing speech focuses on pathos. For ethical reasons, Aristotle condemned this means of persuasion. He nevertheless recognized its ubiquity and efficacy in real-life situations. The analysis of the interpreted speech reveals numerous shifts that alter the strategic persuasiveness of the source speech. A number of methodological considerations have emerged from this empirical case study: firstly, classical rhetoric offers a valid theoretical framework for appreciating the persuasive effect of a great range of discourse features and secondly, it is an excellent instrument for analyzing the interpretation of persuasive monologues.


Pathos, court interpreting, classical rhetoric, persuasive monologues

October 18, 2015
  27(2) - 2015