Hyperbole Examples in Literature

Hyperbole is a boldly use statement that creates importance and a strong impression in a sentence without considering it to be literally true.

In this post, we have discussed 14 common examples and 10 hyperbole examples in literature.

Greek (overshooting)

Definition

A boldly use statement that creates importance and strong impression in a sentence without considering it to be literally true. It is an overstatement which is used in a sentence to create an effective impression so as to make it more vivid.To create comic, serious or ironic effect, writers use hyperbole in a sentence which arise attention of the readers. ‘Neisfield’ says that hyperbole is more suited to poetry than to prose. In other words, hyperbole not only creates impressive effect in a sentence but also is helpful to exaggerate the feelings of love, hate or fear as our common instinct allows us to do.

hyperbole examples in literature

Common Examples of Hyperbole:

  1. He ate everything in the house.
  2. He has read one thousand pages book in one hour.
  3. Anna has finished her summer work in one day.
  4. Come-on boy, I am waiting you here for the last eight hours.
  5. Julia purchased a hand bag in 5000$.
  6. This watchman use to wear costly watches.
  7. Diana use to walk five hours in a day.
  8. This sweeper has two cars.
  9. This office boy lives in a bungalow.
  10. Sophia is the only beautiful girl in town.
  11. Earth of gold.
  12. The whole world became mourn on the death of union leader.
  13. She had moved mountains.
  14. I have not seen you from million years!

Examples of Hyperbole in Literature

‘Hyperbole’ is often used in everyday speech, but writers also use it in prose and poetry. For example, in love poetry, the speaker may use hyperbole to emphasize his intense passion and admiration for the beloved.

We have collected 10 different hyperbole examples in literature for you. Let’s see one by one.

As I Walked Out (By W.H. Auden)

“As I walked out one Evening,

I’ll love you, dear, I’ll you,

Till China and Africa,

And the river jumps over the mountain, 

And the salmon sing in the street

All the above narrated things would no possible to do. Writer used exaggerated words in order to create effectiveness in his words and to show his intense love and that he will love her forever.

Go and catch a falling Star (By john Donne)

“If thou be’st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see, Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee, Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear, No where lives a woman true, and fa’r”.

Here Donne makes ironical statements about women. He tells that even one search the woman for ten thousand days and nights but he will not be able to find a faithful woman. In other words he is saying that ‘fair’ or ‘attractive’ woman will not be true to you.

Drink to Me only with Thine eyes (by Ben Johnson)

“Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I’ll not ask for wine.
The thirs’t that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine”.

‘Be Johnson’ here describes about sexual frustration. He while implying ironical expressions about the lady who is committing a criminal act only to flirt him but not to prolong this relationship to sleep with him.  

Heart of Darkness (by Ben Johnson)

 “I had to wait in the station For ten day’s an eternity Ten days is by no means an Eternity, forever, but it felt alike”

Here ‘Conard’ is emphasizing the passing of time.

Macbeth (by Shakespeare)

“Not in the legions Of horrid hell can come a devil more dam’ed In evils to top Macbeth”.

In above said lines, Shakespeare’s character Macduffexpresses his intense feeling and loyalty with Malcolm by asking him that he should be the King instead of Macbeth.

Hamlet (By Shakespeare)

“I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers, Coul’d not with all their quantity of love, Make up the sun”

In the above narrated lines, Shakespeare’s use of hyperbolic effect is clearly visible. His character ‘Hamlet’ by expressing his feelings for Ophelia that he loves her forty thousand times than her father Laertes.

“Paradise Lost” (By Milton)

So frown’d the mighty combatants, that hell Grew darker at the frown!

“Macaulay’s (By Frederic the Great)

“it was in his own house that he was most unreasonable and ferocious. His palace was hell, and he the most execrable of fiend’s”.

Henry IV Part-1

“By heaven me think’s it were an easy leap, To pluck bright hono’r from the pale-faced moon, Or dive into the bottom of the deep Where fathom lin’e could never touch the ground, And pluck up drown’d honour by the lock’s

Catching Fire” (by Suzanne Collins)

The use of hyperbole in the novel is showing the portray of events happening. After the hunger games, ‘Katniss’ obtained a tremendous money,
bucket’s of money, far more than enough to feed both, her and Gales family.

The use of hyperbole in the quote is “buckets of money” which shows exaggeration of the amount Katniss acquired. This force reader to imagine and make a sketch about the triumph of Katniss and the reward she was awarded after the hunger games.

Hyperbole and Understatement

The terms ‘hyperbole’ and ‘under statement’ are opposite to each other.

‘Hyperbole’ creates affect to make something seem more important than it really is. It is a bold overstatement.Poets/writers use it for the sake of emphasis to produce the desire and comic effect.

‘Understatement’ is used in a sentence that makes something seem less important than it really is. For example: ‘Auston’ failed in four subjects but he did well in the exams.

Related Terms:

Hyperbole V. Simile

‘Hyperbole’ is different from the simile. We use simile in order to compare two things. For comparison, we use “as” and “like”. “She is as young as her mother”. “His acts are like a criminal”. ‘Hyperbole’ does not make comparison rather it adds a humorous effect in the writing.

Hyperbole V. metaphor

Like ‘Hyperbole’, ‘metaphor’ also creates humorous effect in writing. That’s why we can say that metaphor is somehow similar to hyperbole. The sentence “that man is a mountain” is example of metaphor as it creates humor in the sentence.

Significance of Hyperbole

In literature, use of hyperbole develops contrast. It brings a great significance as it permits the writers to present something common in a profound manner. Crux, by applying hyperbole, one can revolve a common feeling into a significant one. It provides a contrast as with this technique, something is explained by giving an extra stress and on the other hand, the other description remains normal.

Further reading:

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