What Is a Hyperboleor

What Is a Hyperboleor

What Is a Hyperbole

A hyperbole is an exaggeration or saying something that goes beyond one's abilities to place it in perspective. It is a form of language meant to evoke emotional response.


Hyperbole and overstatement are often used interchangeably, and they can serve as synonyms for each other. However, overstatement and hyperbole have subtle differences in their use and intended effect. An overstatement is an exaggeration or a statement in excess of what most would consider reasonable. A hyperbole is also an exaggeration, yet it is often more extreme than an overstatement and its intended effect is as a literary or rhetorical device. Both overstatement and hyperbole are figures of speech and are not meant to be understood literally. Hyperbole, however, is utilized as a device in literature and rhetoric, not just a form of figurative language. (Source:B.C. there was a rabble-rousing Athenian, a politician named Hyperbolus, who often made exaggerated promises and claims that whipped people into a frenzy. But even though it sounds appropriate, Hyperbolus' name did not play a role in the development of the modern English word hyperbole. That noun does come to us from Greek (by way of Latin), but from the Greek verb hyperballein, meaning "to exceed," not from the name of the Athenian demagogue. Hyperballein itself was formed from hyper-, meaning "beyond," and ballein, "to throw."

In Shue’s play, the character Catherine utilizes hyperbole to reveal to the audience her perception of her brother’s intelligence and ability. Such an extremely exaggerated statement not only indicates the witty humor of the playwright, but also creates an absurd and memorable image for the audience. In this case, Shue’s hyperbolic dialogue is designed for comic effect and to showcase personality traits of the characters onstage. Literary devices such as hyperbole are valuable in dramatic literary works that are meant to be performed for an audience. Hyperbole allows the playwright to emphasize aspects of certain characters and their relationship to each other. This enhances audience understanding of the play and the writer’s intended meaning. (Source: literarydevices.net)


WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THE PHRASE ‘ELEMENTS OF LITERATURE? The phrase ‘elements of literature’ refers to the constituent parts of a work of literature in whatever form it takes: poetry, prose, or drama. Why are they important? It’s important students understand these common elements if they are to competently read or write.

For example, a common metaphor is “the black sheep of the family.” We don’t literally mean that someone is a black sheep; a human being cannot literally be a sheep, unless this is a very strange science-fiction movie. But the black sheep stands for certain qualities of the family member in question. A black sheep is unusual and perhaps not accepted by its herd. Someone who is called a black sheep must be different from other family members in some way and may not be accepted by family members for that reason. This is not a hyperbole because no characteristics of the person are being exaggerated. An example of hyperbole in this situation would be “He has absolutely nothing in common with our family!” We know that this can’t be true; all family members share DNA and usually many experiences, but we use hyperbole to emphasize how different this one family member feels from the rest of the family. (Source: literaryterms.net)



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