The Eternal Struggle: Analyzing the Depths of ‘Fire and Ice’ Poem by Robert Frost

Last Updated: 30 Jun 2023
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This is one of Robert Frost simplest poems. When I initially read this poem, the first thing that came to my mind was the biblical theory. In the second line “Some say in ice” furthered my theory. In the Bible it is told that God destroyed Earth with water the first time he came to get his people (the story of Noah’s Ark). Ice being a form of water I related the two to each other. In the first line of the poem “Some say the world will end in fire” this is where I compared the stanza to the theory. In the Bible, the book of Revelations also say that the next time that God comes to take his people that he is going to destroy the world by fire. This is the biblical aspect of the poem.

As I read the poem further to get a deeper understanding I thought of other relations to the poem Fire and Ice. I was thinking that Frost wanted to basically put a question on our minds, If you had to choose a way to die would you choose fire or ice? In lines seven through nine, “To say that destruction ice is also great and would suffice”. To me this is saying you would have to choose the lesser of the two evils. Weighting the pros and cons of the two. Asking which one is better for you, a cold slow death or a hot slow death. But in the end of the poem Frost is saying the no matter which one he picks they are both going to give you the same results, death.

To analyze the poem better I took each word as if it symbolized a certain characteristic. In lines three and four, “From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold those who favor fire” it led me to believe that Frost was trying to use desire as a metaphor to fire. Desire, can usually be used a negative or a positive manner depending on the context it’s use. In the poem I think that Frost is using it in a negative sense, because he is uses words like end, perish, and destruction in the poem. Negatively the word desire can mean the drive to win or receive something at any cost, the urge for power, which is very destructive. In lines six and nine “I think I know enough of hate to say that for destruction ice is also great and would suffice”. Saying that ice is a metaphor to hate.

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The word hate is worldly known to have a negative condensation. Hate is also a destructive component that can never be put in a positive light. The words apart can be destructive, but putting them together they are lethal. The two-element fire and ice are in a never-ending conflict with each other. Fire and ice are the complete opposite of each other in the literal sense, they can never exist with each other, you can not have fire and ice (water) exist at the same time without an added component such as oil. But, fugitively speaking two bad things makes things even worst. Violence throughout history is related to desire and hate. For example the wars that go on between different country is wars of desire and hate. The Holocaust is a great example of the ill stricken desire and hate that brings this world down. In line nine “and would suffice” is saying that no matter if they are together or apart it would be just as destructive.

This is a very simple yet complex poem. The simplicity is what makes the poem so had to interpret. You have two basic words that can be compared and contrasted to in multiple ways. These are just some points that I feel strongly about. Frost did this poem very simple because he want his reads to expand the minds and give some educated thought to this age old question.

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The Eternal Struggle: Analyzing the Depths of ‘Fire and Ice’ Poem by Robert Frost. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from

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