Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice outlines the familiar question regarding the fate of the world of whether it is more likely to be destroyed by fire or by ice. Frost introduces his personal take on the question of the end of the world. He concludes that the world must end in fire due to his personal experiences with the emotions of desire and passion which are emotions of fire. He reflects upon his experience with ice or hatred as well and concludes that would be just as equally destructive. It is clear that the poem had several interpretations and Frost uses metaphor and imagery to convey his message.
In the first two lines of the poem, Frost creates a distinct difference between fire and ice and claims that the world will end as a result of one of these elements. The most noticeable literary device used in Frost’s poem is metaphor. The words “fire” and “ice” are compared to ways that Frost believes the world will end. Fire is compared to desire when Frost states in lines three and four: “From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire.” Here Frost is referring to his own life and feelings of desire. By comparing fire to desire one can assume that desire is a sin. Frost appears to believe that the world will end due to fire because people are maybe more sinful and posses desire which could result in the death of humanity. Although the first two lines of the poem insist that there can only be a single choice between fire and ice, Frost acknowledges that both elements could successfully destroy the world. He has had personal experience with both of these elements in the form of desire and hate which reveals that fire and ice are not mutually exclusive. Although Frost first concludes that the world will end in fire, he later goes to admit that the world could just as easily end in ice.
Through the use of literary devices like metaphor and symbolism, Frost is able to help convey a deeper meaning in his poem. When noticing these devices, the reader is able to look deeper into the poem to better understand it. In just a few lines of poetry Frost is able to educate his readers of the destructive powers of desire and hate. The themes presented in this poem can be interpreted many ways depending on who is reading the poem, but with the use of Frost’s literary devices he is able to steer his readers in a certain direction.