Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Summary of  Fire and Ice

  • Popularity of “Fire and Ice”: This poem was written by Robert Frost, a great American poet. It is a popular literary piece on account of its contradictory subject matter of earth’s destruction and the ending. It was first published in 1920 in New Hampshire. The poem expresses the profound idea that the world would end in one of two ways, either by ice or fire.
  • “Fire and Ice”, As a Representative of Hatred: As this poem is about the apocalypse, the poet expresses how the world will end. Some people believe that the world will be destroyed by fire, while others argue that it will be frozen. Initially, the speaker also supports those who are in favor of fire. But, as the poem progresses, he remains undecided and mentions that if the world ends twice the ice can bring equal destruction as fire. The poet, very artistically, underpins the deep philosophy that we, let our emotions rule us and if we don’t control them, they will surely destroy everything around us.
  • Major Themes in “Fire and Ice”: Hatred and power of emotions are the major themes of the poem. The poet discusses the destructive features of human emotions. He uses the symbol of fire and ice to show how desires and hatred contribute to making the world stand at the verge of chaos. Also, these powerful emotions will eventually drag the world toward a catastrophic end.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “Fire and Ice”

Writers and poets use Literary Devices to bring uniqueness and depth in the simple texts. They also allow multiple interpretations of the texts. Robert Frost has also used some literary devices in this poem. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem is given below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the long sound of /o/ in “I hold with those who favor fire”.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /f/ in “I hold with those who favor fire”.
  3. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “Some say the world will end in fire” and “To say that for destruction ice, is also great”.
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is a use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities, by giving them symbolic meanings different from their literal meanings. “Fire” is the symbol of desires and “Ice” symbolizes hatred. Similarly, “green” and “gold” are the symbol of beauty and happiness.
  5. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. For example,

“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.”

  1. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. In this poem, “Fire” and “Ice” are capable of destruction. Therefore, the poet personifies fire and ice by giving them a mind which is capable of destroying almost anything.
  2. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it moves over the next line. For example,

“From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Fire and Ice”

Poetic Devices refer to those techniques a poet uses to bring uniqueness in his text. The analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem is given below.

  1. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. It is a short poem having one stanza in it.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme followed by the entire poem is ABA ABC BCB.
  3. Iambic Tetrameter: It is a type of meter having four iambs per line. The poem follows the iambic tetrameter such as, “Some say the world will end in fire”.

Quotes to be Used

The lines given below can be used in a speech when discussing personal opinion about the end of the world. These could also be used in religious sermons to explain the negative attitudes of the people regarding the end of the world.

“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.”