Fire and Ice Summary & Analysis by Robert Frost

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"Fire and Ice" is a popular poem by American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963). It was written and published in 1920, shortly after WWI, and weighs up the probability of two differing apocalyptic scenarios represented by the elements of the poem's title. The speaker believes fire to be the more likely world-ender of the two, and links it directly with what he or she has "tasted" of "desire." In an ironically conversational tone, the speaker adds that ice—which represents hate and indifference—would "also" be "great" as a way of bringing about the end of the world. There are two reported inspirations for the poem: the first of these is Dante's Inferno, which is a poetic and literary journey into Hell written in the 14th century. The other is a reported conversation Frost had with an astronomer in which they talked about the sun exploding or extinguishing—fire or ice.

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