Neoclassical analysis is a method that uses ancient works to make sense of literature and other work. I will be focusing on the Aristotle proofs in this blog post. Aristotle named three types of appeals – or what he called the “three proofs” – that speaker should use as means of persuasion. In classical Greek, the three proofs are known as ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is how the subject appeals to character. Does the subject display a good sense, will, or moral character? Pathos appeals to emotions, while logos appeals to logic and rationality.

The song “Warmth” is about the human condition and just how “overwhelming it can seem to be watching or reading the news. It all seems so confusing.” Songwriter, Dan Smith, describes the song being about figuring out ways to react against that, and sometimes that is just running to the person that you love because they’re the perfect distraction in that situation. It’s just about trying to have an honest reaction to things.

Dan, in the beginning of the song, believes that logic is the correct way to go about things. The song begins with sound bites from news reports:

“When the event happens, there is little time to think of those things that people would like to have remain private”

“Getting caught up in the circus-like atmosphere, feeling less responsible to conventional ethical practices” 

Because there is little time to prepare for whatever may happen in the world, it is important to stay rational despite the emotions that may creep up. Being emotional can lead to impulsive decisions. When things get crazy we tend to run. And even though looking from the outside in, that is an emotional response, if you are in that situation it seems like the only logical option. This is where logos fits.


Hold me in this wild, wild, world.

Burying himself in someone or something else erases the fear, regardless of this he knows that does the world no good to run away. It does no good to try to escape. This is when his mind shifts to pathos. As much as he would like to shut off him emotions, Dan is an emotionally driven person.

Never good just the bad and the ugly

Laid in front of you

Nothing quite like seeing the world through the TV’s window

Feeling helpless I look for distraction

I go searching for you, wandering through our city to find some solace at your door

The news is scaring him, and how could we possibly blame him? The world that Dan once knew versus the one “through the TV’s window” are two very different things. Facts are not what we once knew (hello alternative facts) and it is laid there right in front of him. Searching for a distraction is the only way that his mind can cope; he needs comfort: warmth.

Cause in your warmth I forget how cold it can be

And in your heat I feel how cold it can get

Hold me in this wild, wild, world

Cause in your warmth I forget how cold it can be

And in your heat I feel how cold it can get

Now draw me close

The fact that Dan can find only so much support in the warmth of his loved one is what draws him back to reality. When Dan ventures out into the world alone, he feels the frigidness of the world. On the other hand, feeling the cold while in someone’s heart may refer the way that having people who are precious to you can make you afraid. This is because you know how easily anything can slip away, and the thought of losing them is terrifying. Both of these things make you want to hold on for dear life to what you hold dear.

So come on let’s forget the emotion

Tie the blinkers on, hold both hands right over my eyes

Deafen me with music

‘Till we’re lost in the heat of the moment

And I moving in you help me keep these hours alive

Help me chase those seconds

Overall, it is Dan’s morality that makes him display ethos. Forgetting the emotion, he believes, will provide him with a good sense. Wanting to chase the seconds of feeling alive is human nature. These lyrics discuss his inner debate of wanting to do something about world events but feeling powerless.

I just keep talking about it

But I’ll do nothing about it

This portion discusses the culture of “slacktivism”, where people will talk about how bad things are, they’ll post about it on social media, argue about it, say how awful it is, but then they won’t do anything in an attempt to change the way things are, to stop it happening again. Perhaps because they feel like they won’t be able to make a difference because they are only one person. The beliefs are there but the drive isn’t. This takes us right back to the beginning of the song:

“Getting caught up in the circus-like atmosphere, feeling less responsible to conventional ethical practices”



The track is arranged in a way that makes it sound almost chaotic. All of the different beats and instruments being played can illustrate the mayhem that is occurring in the world. This version is very upbeat.


This version of the song seems to ring true to the lyrics of the song. It is more mellow and creates the image of desperately needing solace.


Burgchardt, Carl R. Readings in Rhetorical Criticism. 4th ed. State College, Pa.: Strata Pub., 2010



6 thoughts on “Warmth

  1. Great post Liz! You explained the method, identified the parts, and closed your case! Your interpretation of the lyrics are always fun to read 🙂

    Thanks for posting both versions of the song. They are both good in their own way.

    PS: I envy Dan Smith’s hair :/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz! I felt like this was one of your longer posts BUT I really appreciate that you took the time to seriously break down each part of ethos, pathos and logos. I feel like this particular neo-classical approach is sometimes difficult for me to identify so major props to you for explaining your take on this song through this particular analyzation in a way that was easy to read. -Bree

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You do this pretty consistently, but I wanted to note that I really like how you handle mixing up analysis, lyrics, and images. The layout of your posts is always really strong. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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