Explanation of the Poem

Stanza 1

Some say the world will end in fire
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.

Explanation

The poet is analysing about the end of the world. The poet provides and deals with two possible causes for the end of the world. He considers the age-old question of whether the world will end in fire or in ice. Both the two reasons contrast each other and are equally opposite to each other. On one side of the debate are tohse people who are in favour of fire. They believe that it will be the heat and the passion, which will lead the humanity, the world, to end. On the other side of the debate are those people who favour ice and feel that it will be the ‘ice’ which will freeze the world.

Frost is providing a powerful statement on the subject of greed and jealously. He is saying that above anything else, even hatred, which is the trail of humanity, is most likely to lead the world to its demise.

Stanza 2

But if it had to perish twice,
I think, I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Explanation

The poet is very much sure of the destruction of the humanity. He first talks about the destruction caused by fire and in case this fails, then ice will result into hatred that will end humanity one day. Frost foes on to discuss, in a more understated manner, the power of hate, which is symbolised in the poem by ice. Hate, according to the speaker, is just as powerful as desire. While desire consumes, quickly, hate is just as great and powerful. In fact, by ending  the poem with the concept of hate.

Frost directs the reader to the shy yet restrained devastation that hate can produce. Hate can occur and linger in people’s minds and hearts for years, sometimes even lifetimes. Hate is presented as having the ability to lead to the destruction of the world if it were to happen for a second time, again providing a powerful warning against this human fallacy (misunderstanding).

Central Idea of Poem

The central idea around which the entire poem revolves is that only love, equality, mutual understanding and sympathy for one and all can help in establishing peace on the earth. The poet mentions that both the ice and fire can bring probable end to this world. The poet talks about how fire represents desire and can therefore be a cause of the end of the world. He also mentions ice as a second issue to symbolise that the coldness and indifference towards on another will also be enough  to bring an end to this world. Too much fire and passion can quickly consume a relationship. while cold indifference and hate can be equally destructive.

Poetic Devices Used in the Poem

Alliteration : Repetition of initial consonant sounds in the same line.

Some say the world will end in fire
Some say in ice
I hold those who favour fire

Paradox : A true statement but which seems untrue.

  • But if it had to perish twice

Symbolism

  • Fire – a symbol of desire
  • Ice – a symbol of hate

Imagery : A figure of speech where an object, person or situation has another meaning other than its literal meaning.

  • Fire and ice carry deep connotations.
  • Fire elicits the feeling of heat and light, but also burning and pain.
  • Ice elicits the feeling of coldness, but also indifference and intolerance.

Rhyme Scheme

abaabcbcb