What is the mood in the poem "Fire and Ice"?

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The mood of this poem is contemplative, but it does not have the tone of gentle reflection we might more usually associate with contemplative poetry. On the contrary, the speaker approaches the question of how "the world will end" rather scientifically, debating without any apparent emotional investment what might happen "if it had to perish twice." There seems little concern on the part of the speaker for the question of what will happen if "destruction" is visited upon Earth. Instead, the speaker is simply equivocating with himself as to whether fire or ice would be better for the task. The language choices—particularly the final note that ice "would suffice" for destruction and that some "favor fire"—are cool and measured. Overall, the mood of the poem is so detached as to be almost chilling. Who, we ask ourselves, can "those" be who "favor fire" for the end of the world?

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Let us remember that the mood of a text is something that is created based on a combination of the kind of words that are used, the theme of the text and other aspects such as devices. In this poem, in which fire and ice are compared with desire and hate respectively, the way in which the lines are short and the rhyme scheme is presented gives this poem are rather ironic and detached tone.

If we examine the way in which the words "ice" and "suffice" are rhymed together, and if we look at the penultimate line, which is very short and merely states that ice for destruction "Is also great," we can see that the mood of this poem is very clinical and almost objective as the speaker weighs up the various benefits of ice and fire. The exact rhyme of "ice" and "suffice" is something that we can see clinches the poem and ends it precisely, giving us the impression that the speaker has rather clinically chosen his words.

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