Essay“Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

Topics: Robert Frost, Translation, Poetry Pages: 3 (854 words) Published: May 21, 2012
If you had a choice on how the world should end, what would you decide? Would your choice be to go painfully but fast or slow and painless? That’s what I believe Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” is meant to express. Although the poem is short, it holds a very interesting question to think about. What way would you prefer the world to end? There are two choices.

In his poem “Fire and Ice”, Robert Frost compares and contrasts the two destructive forces: fire and ice. In the first two lines of the poem he presents two options for the end of the world, “Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice”. I feel that he uses the term fire, not to hold the direct meaning of a burning flame, but to represent the punishment something can inflict upon an object. It presents the image of the intense pain in which a burn can impose, along with the extraordinary speed in which it happens. Fire causes a tremendous amount of destruction to virtually anything, within seconds. It could also just represent a violent ending. For the world to end in ice, seems to present the image of a slower, numbing effect. I feel he uses ice to symbolize a deliberate, almost unnoticeable change that eventually causes the destruction of mankind.

He takes the position of fire in the next two lines and relates it to desire. This comparison suggests that Frost views desire as something that consumes and destroys. Desire does indeed have a way of consuming those it infects. However, in the next stanza Frost makes the case for the destructive force of ice by comparing it to hate. This comparison relates to the reader, to view hate as something that causes people to be rigid, unmoving, and cold. Also, ice has a tendency to encompass things and cause them to crack and break. The last line of Frost’s poem, asserts that the two destructive forces are equally great. Fire, or desire, consumes and destroys quickly, leaving ashes in its wake. Ice, or hatred, destroys more slowly. It causes objects to...
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