“Fire and Ice” – Analysis

Blog: What do “fire” and “ice” symbolize in the poem? Be sure to tie your analysis to very specific evidence. You may post this to your blog, but the writing should be formally argumentative, not exploratory: it should begin with a topic sentence that states your overall argument, and then back it up with analysis of cited evidence. Pay close attention to The Commandments.

In Frost’s poem, “Fire and Ice,” the speaker symbolizes fire as desire or love, and ice is symbolized to be destruction and hate. Another way to symbolize ice in this poem is coldness. Frost immediately connects fire with desire because of its perfect rhyme. There is controversy about how the world will end; in fire or in ice. Desire can go hand-in-hand with greed, and the speaker talks about the fate of humankind and the planet. Being greedy and desiring so many things, humans weaken the world. The persona says, “Some say the world will end in fire/Some say in ice.” Frost takes the two and suggests that they both can have the same effect. The speaker has experienced desire, saying, “From what I’ve tasted of desire/I hold with those who favor fire.” This denotes that after understanding desire, he sides with “those who favor fire.” However, on the last few lines, the idea of the world ending twice appears and Frost writes that ice can do the same damage as fire: “But if it [the world] had to perish twice,/I think I know enough of hate/To say that for destruction ice/Is also great/And would suffice.” The speaker admitted to feeling both desire and hate, that he is the same as those he describes. Fire and ice are both opposites for numerous reasons, such as that fire consumes its prey rapidly, whereas ice freezes slowly and less severely. Fire is burning hot, and ice is freezing cold. Frost makes a point that they both can do the same damage. Experiencing both desire and hate, the speaker first says that fire would end the world, but at the end, he says that ice “Is also great/And would suffice.” This shows that humans are fated to die both ways.


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