Robert Frost – Fire and Ice


As with many things in life you must repeatedly work on them to make them meaningful. That is how I felt with this poem, I had to read the poem many many times. I feel that a poem like this one strives to capture a greater meaning of life and by keeping it short and simple it does just that. This poem is not only about the end of the world, but also it is about how fire and ice represent two extreme emotions. Fire as Frost implies means desire, and ice means hatred, with these two extreme emotions, Frost is saying that in turn the world will thus end.


Fire: When I think of Fire, I think of a burning itch or something vast and powerful. Frost describs fire in his 4th and 5th lines, saying

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

Fire can destroy anything and everything that stands in its way and it can make you a little bit crazy. This goes to show that desire has the same characteristics, sometimes a desire can be so strong that you are unable to control yourself, thus making you destroy, or love unconditionally. And while love may be a necessary feeling to have, too much of it can lead to pain and thus, desire is a force that can destroy the world. Fire will not literally destroy the world, but instead too much desire, too much destruction can lead to mistakes, it can lead to murder, and crime, and an outsource of passion, which can then become dangerous. Desire fuels humans sometimes and that fuel is harmful to not only the world but to our kind as well.

Ice Ledge

Ice: Ice, is the best for a hot day to cool you down, however, ice can sometimes be downright cold. Thinking back to high school, I remember when people would say oh she’s giving you the cold shoulder. Or even from Omarion’s song, “Icebox,” “I’ve got an icebox where my heart used to be…” Ice is the worldwide symbol for hatred. It is cold, and rigid, and solid. It has the capabilities of consuming people’s emotions and disabling them from leading a life with love. Hatred can be so powerful that people sometimes become endowed to it. They are unable to escape it and move on from it.  In using Ice as a symbol for Hatred, Frost expresses in lines 7 through 9.

“…I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

is also great.”

Ice has the capabilities of ruining a person’s life , in a sense it can freeze their life in place. The hatred a person carries with them can not cause the end of the world, but too much hatred can lead us on a path towards the end of the world.

In using the opposites of fire and ice, Frost is saying that both desire and hatred have connotations with them that allow them to lead us towards the end of the world. They are strong enough to destroy and strong enough to leave us frozen.


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