Saturday 4 April 2020

Fire and Ice class 10 CBSE

Fire and Ice

                                                    By Robert Frost


·         ‘Fire and Ice’ is a single stanza poem composed by Robert Frost, an  American poet.

·         It discusses the possible ways / theories how this world may end.

·        The poet conveys that man’s desires and hatred are so strong and  powerful that they   may be the cause of destruction of this world.

·        Symbolically, man’s desire is presented as fire and his hatred is presented as ice.

·        Tone of the poem is critical and sarcastic as the poet criticises man’s greed and lack of   emotions and warmth of heart in modern world.

Line by Line Explanation

Line 1-4 with rhyme scheme

Some say the world will end in fire,      a
Some say in ice.                                    b
From what I’ve tasted of desire             a
I hold with those who favour fire.          a

The poet, Robert Frost refers to the possible theories which claim that this world would end some day. The learned people like scientists are divided over the two possible theories about the end of this world. Some of them believe that the world would be destroyed due to fire or excessive heat whereas some opine that the world would be destroyed by ice or freezing due to extremely low temperature. The poet agrees with the first theory that the world would be destroyed by fire but he doesn’t talk about real fire or excessive heat. He thinks that man has become so much selfish and mad in fulfilling his desires that he may go to any extent. He can also kill other human being for his selfish purposes. In this blind madness of his greed and uncontrolled rage of accomplishing his desires entire humanity may kill one another and thus, end this world.

Line 5-9 with rhyme scheme

But if it had to perish twice,                    b
I think I know enough of hate                 c
To say that for destruction ice                b
Is also great                                           c
And would suffice.                                  b

Here, the poet rethinks and changes his first opinion and tells the readers that the ice, which is presented as a symbol of cold hearts and lack of emotions, is sufficient to end the world twice. In fact, the poet wants to say that there is so much hatred among the people that the world may be destroyed two times.  He wants to convey that milk of kindness has dried up and mankind is suffering from the drought of feelings. There is no warmth of emotions left among the people and their hearts have become cold. Cruelty and hatred are ruling their hearts so much that the mankind may kill one another some day. The poison of hatred is sufficient to destroy this world twice. Here, the poet wants to criticise man’s tendency to go to any extent to accomplish his desires and meet his selfish purposes without caring for others’ loss and pain.

Message of the poem

The poet, Robert Frost tries to convey that man ought to tame his emotions, control his desires and behave as a civilized one. Mankind needs to nurture an ocean of emotions in their hearts and live for others’ happiness.

Rhyme Scheme of the poem

Poetic Devices:

Some say the world will end in fire– Alliteration

Some say in ice – Alliteration

Some say the world will end in fire - Assonance

I hold with those who favour fire. – Alliteration

I hold with those who favour fire. - Assonance

But if it had to perish twice – Assonance

To say that for destruction ice Metaphor

Some say the world will end in fireImagery

To say that for destruction iceSymbolism

I hold with those who favour fireSymbolism

And would suffice  Consonance

the world will end in fire – Consonance

Important Question - Answers

Q. There are many ideas about how the world would end. What does the poet think? Do you agree?

Ans. Two contrasting ideas are discussed in the poem about how the world would end. According to one belief the world would by destroyed by fire or excessive heat while the other one predicts that the world would end due to extreme cold or freezing of everything. The poet presents these two ideas metaphorically and believes that either man’s selfish desires, greed and longingness would be the reason for the end of this world or his hatred for his fellow beings would be sufficient to end this world. I completely agree with the poet as in the present time man’s selfishness, greed, insensitivity, cruelty and hatred have crossed all the limits.

Q. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem? How does it help in bringing out the contrasting ideas in the poem?

Ans. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abaabcbcb. Through this rhyme scheme the two contrasting ideas behind the destruction of the world by ‘fire’ or ‘ice’ are presented very artistically. If we closely see the rhyme scheme, the first idea is discussed using the ‘ire’ words, (fire and desire) which are denoted by A. The second idea behind the destruction of the world is discussed using the words related to 'ice' and 'hate' and they are denoted by B and C in the rhyme scheme. Hence, two contrasting ideas are very beautifully separated through rhyming scheme.

Q3. What do Fire and Ice stand for?


FIRE                                    ICE

GREED                             INTOLERENCE                    

AVARICE                          RIGIDITY                                                                     

LUST                                 INDIFFERENCE              

CONFLICT                        HATRED            

FURY                                 COLDNESS



Video on Fire and Ice


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