Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem Fire and Ice


  1. Mahsa says:

    It is quite interesting that how he uses an Understatement to show how the world ending in fire or ice would be equally sufficient..this does affect the poet’s tone which is a bit mild and casual here.

  2. michelle easson says:

    It’s interesting to consider how Frost viewed nature ~ as metaphor and inspiration, from which he drew insight into humanity. Many of his poems seem to be about the transitory nature of Nature, how nothing remains the same and embracing/accepting the moment (before it passes) is both practical and vital–enlivening and necessary. Man must learn to live with himself, to enjoy his own company and make life livable, which requires an acceptance and understanding of one’s own nature. The refusal to be overwhelmed or outdone by circumstances and one’s own emotions is key to survival. He talks about the refusal to succumb to the challenges presented by one’s situation (refusal to “sink under being man and wife,” impasse of having to choose which fork in the road to take and the second-guessing or lament over what might have been). He refrains from giving advice or proselytizing and recognizes that finding/making one’s way is personal, individual, and an “inside job.”
    Whether by fire or ice, the ending/endings come, and the ‘preference’ is rather arbitrary in that sense. For Frost, desire is preferable to indifference and the relative ‘chill’ of intellectualism, but “either will suffice” in leading to the same end. It’s the way one wants to live, based on one’s own true nature, that makes the difference and creates the choice. Either end of the spectrum has its advantages and disadvantages, but according to what he knows of his own nature (and his own emotions), fire/desire is preferable. Hell may be made of either fire or ice (or both, as in Canto 32 of Dante’s Inferno, in which he/Dante describes traitors as being “submerged, while in a fiery hell, up to their necks in ice”). Ice can be experienced as cold and/or hot — the difference in perception having to do with the intensity and prolonged exposure. It’s a brilliant poem, so concise and yet vast in its implications. Of course, for us, the metaphor is all the more literal–whether humanity brings about its destruction by incineration of Global Warming, or a nuclear winter–the exhaustion of the Earth’s molten core. Relationships, human nature, or the actual “end of the world” — the poem speaks to all of these…

  3. Trey says:

    I think he is talking about how the wold will end and that he dosent care how because he lived a good life

  4. Nataile says:

    My sister Mandi is crazy, so exuse her. This poem is quite beatiful. I persoaly would prefer fire for it would be a faster death over ice which could take hours, while fire would be almost instant.

  5. Mandi says:

    this is my fav poem by Rob. Im eattin khiken pot pie. this poem wuz also in twilight #4. gtg goin snowbordin.

  6. Vanessa Calvillo says:

    This Is My Favorite Poem And Poet I

  7. brian says:

    i agree with this poem because if i was to die twice i would want the world to end in both ways fire and ice is teh best poem frost has written

  8. Ralph says:

    Fire and Ice by Robert Frost is a great poem, with alot of different meanings that other people see it as.
    My opinion is that hes talking about “Hate”(ice) and “Desire”(fire), with these two great forces (fire and ice) are used as the destruction to end the world. But i think what Robert Frost was explaining was that “Desire” was his first choice because we all know that if u had “Desire” it would be more mentally stronger than “Hate” which is in my opinion, true.

  9. Jo says:

    I’ve just got this poem given to me in my synoptic paper for my A level english exam, all your points have been really interesting!
    I’d like to think that the only reason that he talks about the end of the world is to justify how destructive and strong he imagines these two forces to be.
    I feel like he’s just giving himself an excuse to talk about what he really wants to explore which I thought could be his two comparisons to fire and ice – desire and hate. By comparing them to such elements he makes them appear almost godly and unbeatable. He does of course present them very negatively but by using the word ‘great’ it seems to me that he might have some sort of facsination with them.. Like he knows that they are awful, but he also deems desire and hate to be things that are natural (like fire and ice).

    Anyway, I’m rambling… It’s a pretty interesting poem though!! xx

  10. Miss.K.Sadler says:

    I have studied Robert Frost’s poetry and i know that he tends to focus on the use of nature which is why i think he is refering to ice as a killer of nature when he says that it will suffice.

  11. Jorge says:

    this poem is aight you know

  12. nico says:

    i think Robert Frost means that fire and ice can be equally destructive whether your talking about actual physical destruction or in people. Hate can be expressed as either a hot temper(fire) or cold silence burrowed deep inside(ice).
    P.S. Hillary Clinton’s a man.

  13. Elizabeth and Anderson says:

    We are thinking about writing a paper on this poem but I dont know. It is good. Right now as we speak Elizabeth and Anderson are in english class. Elizabeth has spanish next and Anderson has chemistry next. ELizabeth is scared to death because she might get her spanish exam back and she thinks she failed. Anderson got an 82 on her spanish exam. goodbye…….for now!!!!!

  14. elizabeth says:

    this is a good poem. I think Im going to write a paper about it, but i have not decided yet between this poem and some others of frost’s. Im in my english class right now. I have spanish next. goodbye

  15. Gary Alan Graham JR. says:

    I love this poem. it’s great. little freaky thinking of the end of the world though.

  16. eric e. says:

    This poem was awsome baby!

  17. Jeremy says:

    The poem discusses the end of the world, with Frost positing that it could end in either fire or ice. He relates the two elemental forces with the human emotions desire and hate, respectively, and suggests that while the chill might of hate certainly has the power to end the world, his experiences have led him to believe that it is in the fires of passion that the end times will be found.

  18. Dan says:

    To Georie from United States,

    First of all, just because you have an interpretation, it does not mean that everyone else’s is incorrect.
    Second, I believe it is known that Robert Frost was not involved in some sort of relationship problem at the time when he wrote the poem.
    Third, if you think that just because some interpretations sound strange that the author is deranged and should be placed in asylum, you are very, VERY stupid.

    That’s about it.

  19. Dan says:

    That’s not quite the type of destruction Frost means, David.
    Frost means the destruction of the internal, spiritual world. The metaphor fits quite well, since fire and ice may someday destroy the physical world.

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