In Frost's "Fire and Ice," how will the world end twice?

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Frost's "Fire and Ice" the world may possibly meet its end in two distinct ways. The first may be with fire; humankind's fiery passions, based on beliefs and ideologies, may be the cause of conflict that brings the world to an end. The world may end, not because of indifference, but to the contrary, because of strong feelings about long-held beliefs that different individuals or groups of individuals seek to defend. Fiery, narrow-minded passion, without reasoned discourse, may be the downfall of the human race.

The second distinct way the world may end is with ice. Frost alludes to ice being akin to hate. It is cold-hearted thinking that is selfish and doesn't take into account the Golden Rule - treating others as you would like to be treated.

Frost reveals that he has encountered, dealt with, and maybe even exhibited hate in his life:

"I think I know enough of hate"

Ice cold hatred is love for others 'waxing cold'. It is the opposite of fiery passion but produces the same destructive result for humankind.

sarahc418 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice," he claims that the world may end at the end of time in either fire and ice as the title suggests. This literally refers to the scientific theories about whether the earth will come to an end through fire, like fire at its core or through ice. Metaphorically, however, the fire is supposed to represent strong desire or passion. He says that he would rather die from excess passion - this is supposed to have positive connotations. However, he notes, that if he had to die twice, he would die through ice. Ice here represents hatred or coldness of heart. Too much passion can be destructive to a relationship but coldness, hatred can also destroy just as easily. Frost argues that he would rather the fire than the ice.