Hyperbole is an intentional overstatement, used to increase the power of the message that the individual is trying to deliver. Expressions that include it should not be interpreted as is and serve the purpose of evoking additional feelings from another individual.
Its function and the term itself was used in multiple ways during centuries and millennia since its inception. While going back to its roots it is important to mention that hyperbole appeared in the myths. As the means of increasing the size of the story, its heroes, and the conclusions, it was great and this is how it slowly began to merge with everyday speech. As myths set the development of literature, the artistic exaggeration closely followed the path ever since. The signs of ancient view of the world were the beginning of folklore and hyperbole became an essential part of it. It was used to describe something bigger than it is to give more value and artistic feel to the story. It also added to the scope of the tales and how well they were remembered by following generations.
Hyperbole is often mixed with other figures of speech which gives the latter specific properties, creating devices like hyperbolic correlation. A situation, character trait or a person can be called hyperbolic as well. It is common for rhetorical and declamatory style as means of pathos as well as romantic style where pathos adjoins the irony.
Hyperbole closely cooperates with the metaphor and simile. All of those are essentially comparing two things to provide better and brighter understanding, therefore, can be seen together in most of literature. It is an essential part of heroic poems, giving the protagonist more credit for overcoming bigger obstacles. While not interpreted literally in most cases, it is crucial for the reader to embrace the vision of the author. This leads us to discovering the paradox of hyperbole: it uses overstatements of all shapes and sizes that do not match the reality to make the understanding as natural as it can get.
Literary works are the perfect breeding ground for hyperbole. Fiction allows to come up with characters and correlations that are not seen in the real world and enhancing the effect with a good exaggeration is always a viable option. Poetry stands as another pillar of solitude for this literary device. It allows more artistic approach and overstatements in poetic forms of literature are generally accepted more fluidly. The layout of poetry and its rhyme structure allows for more exquisite hyperbole to be applied without hurting the context and bending the line of narration too much. Prose is also a place for such artistic device yet it is visible that over-the-line content is somewhat limited in comparison to poetry unless the author adopts the style of a fairytale or quotes a character who is prone to depicting his surroundings and feelings vividly.
Stepping aside from artistic activities and rhetoric motives, hyperbole has become a crucial and natural part of the common language. It is used on a daily basis across the world to simplify the explanation of various aspects and situations. It is a strong medium of expressing one’s emotions so that the other participant of the conversation can grasp the general idea of the thought more clearly. Hyperbole operates with size, height, depth, and intensity, applying the overstated properties to the discussed object. It is comparable with the metaphor in terms of usage frequency. As mentioned above, the presence of hyperbole in the everyday speech derives from early forms of folklore and fiction which heavily relied on the said device.