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"Fire and Ice" is one of the many poems by Robert Frost. This piece is one of the better in his voluminous collections. It is a bi-level poem that compares two sets of opposing worlds. The impact that the meanings of these worlds have is distended by the understatement at the end of the piece, which is entirely reflective of the piece. The essence of this piece is in the compression of a sinister order and the possible chaos that "the heat of love or passion and the cold of hate," can draw to the core of humanity. Frost warns of the potential destruction that fire or ice can hold in their extremities. It is as if this omnipotent speaker stands at the event horizon of ultimate anti-virtues, peering down at both the wake and aftermath. He seemingly stands unmoved in the universe, infinitely testing the limits of the soul with subtle force. Connectedness is the key to the central idea of this poem, and abstract analysis makes what is symbolic, concrete. Though fluctuations in the interpretations are expected due to personal differences, there are the basic facts that cannot be denied.
Two essentially different forms are apparently placed as opposing facets at the beginning of this piece, and an incongruity is drawn between these two forms. Thus, form is meant to be the atomic essence of the ideas that are proposed by the words fire and ice. It represents for each their true meanings, either literal or symbolic, when viewed objectively from their appropriate viewpoint. When "Some say the world will end in fire, /Some say in ice.", it gives the impression "as if a super-scientist were weighing possible ends to the world", trying to decide which is worse." There is also an ambiguity to the statements giving them a generalizing and universal effect. It is like there are two groups, and only two groups, made up of anyone and everyone on the Earth, debating their fate. There are presented two choices for them to decide on, and they are the only possible ones. Would their world end in a violent apocalyptical fire or a glacial ice age? It is never positively acknowledged which is definite and which is absurd.
Fire and ice do not share the same characteristics. There is nothing similar in their molecular make-up at all, and it is absurd for both to exist at once. Fire is a plasmatic substance that can increase in heat by the consumption of certain basic elements. Fire feed off of almost all things organic and inorganic, incinerating and destroying with utmost indiscretion, and leaving absolute annihilation in its wake. It is almost animalistic in its mannerisms in that that it spreads and grows while indiscriminately feeding on its victims. This is where the incongruity of the dueling literal forms clash, because ice does not consume as fire does. It is slow in its onslaught and festers its victim, whereas fire obliterates in the blink of an eye. Ice solidifies and hardens and is in fact a solid itself, unlike fire, which takes on almost fluid mannerisms.
Assuming when "Some say" that an astronomical force will destroy the world in fire or ice, the two opposing theories of global warming and the reoccurring ice age are brought to contrast. An associate and a close friend of Robert Frost claimed to have inspired him to write "Fire and Ice". Harlow Shapley was a Harvard professor and one of the most prominent astronomers in America at the time. He had claimed that Frost, while filling the position of poet-in-residence at Harvard, had met Shapley at one of the faculty meetings. According to Shapley, Frost approached him and asked "Now Professor Shapley. You know all about astronomy. Tell me, how will the world e
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Robert Frost, Professor Shapley, Frost, Dante,
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