Fire and Ice: Poetic Devices CBSE Class X English

Class X English Poem ‘Fire and Ice’ Poetic Devices: Robert Frost has used poetic devices effectively to make the poem ‘Fire and Ice’ come out with a short poem with a crisp message denoting the self-destructive forces of human nature if used wildly. Some of the major poetic devices are listed below.

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Click the below links to see notes & explanation based on this poem “Fire and Ice”.

“Fire and Ice” Poetic Devices

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.

Rhyme: The poem follows a simple rhyme scheme, with the first and third lines of each stanza rhyming with each other (fire/desire, twice/ice). The first three lines follow an ABA rhyme scheme, while the last five follow an AABB rhyme scheme.

Symbolism: The use of fire as a symbol is typically associated with passion, desire, and intense emotion. The speaker contrasts fire with ice, which is commonly associated with coldness, indifference, and hate.

Repetition: The repetition of the phrase “Some say” at the beginning of the first two lines of the poem creates a sense of contrast and tension between the two ideas.

The two contrasting elements of fire and ice in these stanzas represent two different ways in which the world could end.

Metaphor: “Fire” and “ice” are used as metaphors for desire and hate, respectively.

The use of “fire” as a metaphor for desire creates an image of intense passion and uncontrollable flames, while “ice” symbolizes a cold and indifferent attitude towards the world’s destruction.

Personification: “if it had to perish twice” treats the world as a person.  

‘fire’ and ‘ice’ are personified as capable to destroy the earth. These elements are personified as destructive forces that can end the world.

Alliteration: The use of repeated initial consonant sounds, such as “world will end in fire” and “favour fire” creates a musical quality to the poem and emphasizes the importance of the words.

Antithesis: The poem presents two opposing ideas (fire and ice) and then reconciles them in the final stanza, suggesting that both are equally capable of bringing about the end of the world.

Enjambment: The lines “From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favour fire” are enjambed, meaning the sense continues onto the next line without pause.

Anaphora: Anaphora is a literary device where a word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences.

In the first stanza, the repetition of the phrase “Some say” is an example of anaphora:

“Some say the world will end in fire Some say in ice.”

Irony: The speaker’s preference for fire despite acknowledging ice as a viable destructive force, and the use of the word “suffice” which suggests a sense of resignation.

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