Analysis Of Design By Robert Frost

678 words - 3 pages

Robert Frost's "Design" is a Petrarchan sonnet that questions God's design of nature and if there truly is a design to life which is illustrated through the use of irony, simile, strong imagery, and a rhetoric question. The sonnet is composed of an octave with the rhyme scheme of ABBAABBA and a sestet with the rhyme scheme of ACAACC. The theme of the poem is written with a sense of admiration for nature, but a skeptic mind for the meaning behind the design of life.
The tone at the beginning of the poem is meant to be one of awe than somber because the main components of the sonnet: the spider, moth, heal-all flower, and cloth are all white. The reader is also given a fresh perspective as the speaker, Robert Frost, is observing this in the morning. During the first stanza, Frost uses euphony to set the scene and tone as he describes the spider as dimpled and on a flower. As the second and third lines continue, the use of simile is portrayed when Frost compares a white flower to a satin cloth. A heal-all flower is usually shades of purple (Kansas Herbs), not fully white, which symbolizes that even the purest thing is tainted. Irony is noticed because usually white signifies purity and innocence; however, a spider holding a moth in its web seems contradictory. The tone shifts as he uses the term rigid to describe the satin cloth and uses the contradiction to convey the uneasiness of the atmosphere. The use of more similes is portrayed throughout as he tries to draw attention to the "design" of the spider. The next line, "assorted characters of death and blight" further darkens the tone and characterizes the spider as having evil intentions since its web caught the moth. There is a sense of irony in how the moth dies on a heal-all flower. In the following two lines, "mixed ready to begin the morning right, like the ingredients of a witches' broth," Frost refers to the spider's routine...

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