What is the purpose of hyperbole?

2 Answers
May 1, 2018

Hyperbole is when you exaggerate, usually for comedic effect.

Example: "I just ran a million miles!" or "This music is so bad my ears are bleeding"

May 6, 2018

Read below, with examples...


Hyperbole: An extreme exaggeration, usually used to emphasise a point...

If in a literary sense:

For example in Macbeth by William Shakespeare:

Macbeth quotes "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hands?". The hyperbole comes in as Neptune's ocean (which is very large) will wash away the blood on Macbeth's hands in reality because Neptune's ocean is very large, but here it is saying that not even Neptune's ocean can wash the blood away from Macbeth's hand, emphasising how serious regicide was (as Macbeth killed King Duncan) as not even Neptune's oceans can wash away the blood as the guilt and memories of committing the regicide is always with Macbeth.

Furthermore, Lady Macbeth also uses hyperbole in "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand". Again referring to the regicide committed as Lady Macbeth forced Macbeth into doing it. The hyperbole emphasises how not even all the perfumes of Arabia (which is a lot of perfume) will not remove the smell of the blood when in reality the perfume actually would but it emphasises again how serious of a crime regicide was regarded as in the Jacobean period.

If meaning a day-to-day sense:

Hyperbole can be used again to emphasise a point, but not in a serious matter.

For example, if someone burned themselves:

"Oww! Don't touch the stove, it is 1000 degrees" The stove isn't actually 1000 degrees, it is to emphasise how hot the stove was and to inform you not to touch it, otherwise you will get burnt.


"I just ran at the speed of light". Again, this person would most likely not run at the speed of light, as the speed of light is immaculately fast, but it is to emphasise how fast this person ran.