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When Hatred Comes Full Circle: A Comparision Of “Fire And Ice” And “A Poison Tree”

1076 words - 5 pages

“Desire” and “Hate” are have seemingly unrelated meanings. One means an intense longing or want, while the other means an intense dislike or distaste. However, when Robert Frost's “Fire and Ice” and William Blake's “A Poison Tree” take a closer look at what defines these two words, desire and hate are found to be interconnected. “Fire and Ice” discusses the ideas that the world will end from fire, and that it will end from ice. “A Poison Tree” examines the growth of a small seed of spite that grows into a malignant tree of evil thoughts which kills the foe, physically or mentally, by the end of the poem. In “Fire and Ice” and “A Poison Tree”, Frost and Blake make use of constrasting ...view middle of the document...

In 'A Poison Tree”, the tree that William Blake may be referring to is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil grown in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve first live. Also, the tone of the speaker seems to be cunning similar to the serpent in the Garden of Eden since all of the speaker's actions were thoroughly thought through. The apple seems to represent the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Due to the way the tree was nurtured, the tree is more the Tree of Knowledge of Evil.
Frost's “Fire and Ice” refer to the physical nature of fire and ice. Physically, fire represents an excess of heat, while ice forms from an absence of heat. Also, fire and ice would
physically cancel each other out when combined, making one as strong as the other. Despite all of these differences, the speaker mentions the fact that “ice is [just as] great [as fire]” (7, 8). Also, since this poem was published 2 years after World War I in 1920, the poet may be referencing the violent destruction of war and how desire and hate are two major keys that help spark wars. Blake's “A Poison Tree” talks about the warped physical attributes of the tree after it has been raised maliciously. The entire act of raising the poison tree is an ironic twist on the cycle of life. The poison tree was watered with tears and sunned with deceitful smiles, which creates a “Tree of Death”. The fruit causes more problems than benefits, defeating the purpose for a fruit tree to bear fruit. The tree itself loses its original meaning and becomes a tool of revenge instead.
Frost also references the Bible through the idea of Armageddon. Parts of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament mention “God's Wrath” in various forms, such as hailstones and burning sulphur. The fire and ice may be mentioning these two destructive forces specifically or may be representing “God's Arsenal” and the range of what he can do. In 'A Poison Tree”, the tree that William Blake may be referring to is the...

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