What are some literary devices employed in the poem "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost?

In "Fire and Ice," composed fewer than two years after the end of World War I, Frost employs a pair of related metaphors, comparing fire to desire and ice to hate, suggesting that either one could lead to the "end" of the world. He also ends with an understatement that lends a tone of irony to the whole poem.

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Frost employs a pair of related metaphors, comparisons of two unalike things where one is said to be the other. The speaker claims that people have identified two possibilities for the destruction of the world: fire and ice (lines 1-2). He says, "From what I've tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire" (3). This compares desire to fire, a destructive force that moves quickly. Next, he says that he knows "enough of hate / To say that for destruction ice / Is also great" (6-8). These lines compare hate to ice, an equally destructive force but one that moves more slowly. We might wonder, desire for what? Hatred of what? It is illuminating, I think, to consider that this poem was written in 1920, fewer than two years after the end of World War I.

Perhaps this desire refers to desire for land, for power, or resources; when countries wage war on one another, it is almost always the result of a desire for something. Further, this kind of desire can be linked to war and is this...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 714 words.)

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