What is Hyperbole in Literature?

Updated: January 09, 2023
A hyperbole is an exaggeration of speech or writing for emphasis or effect.
Detailed answer:

In literature, hyperbole can be found in many different forms, including similes and metaphors. A simile compares two things by using the words “like” or “as.” A metaphor makes a comparison between two unlike things without using the words “like” or “as.”

Hyperbole is used in literature to create humorous situations, but it can also be used to create suspense. For example, if someone says something like, “I am going to be so hungry after this,” it creates an image of a person who is starving and begins to crave food immediately. This makes the reader curious about what happens next and may also cause them to laugh at how silly the statement seems compared with real-life experiences.

Hyperbole is often confused with understatement, but they are different devices that serve different purposes in writing. Understatement is the use of language and words to downplay or diminish an event or idea in order to create humor or sarcasm. For example, if someone were to say, “I just won the lottery,” it would be an understatement because winning the lottery is obviously something positive and exciting, yet the speaker downplays it by saying “I just won…” Hypercole is also sometimes confused with litotes, which uses understatements as well but instead of emphasizing how small something is (e.g., “not bad”), it emphasizes how large something is (e.g., “not great”).

What is Hyperbole in Literature?. (2023, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/qa/what-is-hyperbole-in-literature/