Works of art typically incorporate several rhetorical elements into their design. In this sense, rhetoric isn’t limited to the expressive forms of speech or writing, but can be employed in any number of activities. Following this line of thought, the poster for Steven Spielberg’s film, Jaws implements a profound use of pathos in an attempt to get its audience to see the movie.
Without question, the poster of Jaws grabs the viewer’s attention. At first glance, one sees a woman swimming, but this focal point is quickly altered by the presence of a gargantuan shark directly beneath her. The shark is clearly working its way toward the woman, which gives the viewer a shared feeling of impending doom. Of course, upon seeing the poster, one can’t help but empathize with the soon-to-be victim of the monster’s tooth-filled grip. This is the first example of pathos that can be found in the poster for Jaws.
Second, it is key to understand the choice demographic that Spielberg is attempting to sell his movie to. Because of the nature of the Action/Adventure film, young, teenage boys would be the most likely patrons of the movie’s premier. Therefore, it is understandable why the poster is designed to draw upon the pathos of its viewer. In a sense, the designer of the poster is relying on the natural drives toward protection and heroism within young men. Because of this, boys across the country who see the poster will be driven to watch the movie to find out what happens to the woman, hoping that she is saved.
Altogether, the poster for Spielberg’s film, Jaws, was groundbreaking in many ways. In addition, the piece implements a profound use of pathos in an attempt to draw its audience into purchasing tickets for the movie. With the products of the poster being a sense of impending doom and naturalistic masculinity, it is clearly in the director’s interest to create a poster just like this for thw movie. This serves as another example of how powerful the elements of rhetoric can be in all forms of expression, from speech to film posters.