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

1387 words - 6 pages

Desire means an intense longing or want, while hate means an intense dislike or distaste. However, when the reader examines Robert Frost's “Fire and Ice” and William Blake's “A Poison Tree”, they may possibly notice the fact that desire and hate are intertwined. “Fire and Ice” discusses the idea of the end of the world, while “A Poison Tree” looks at the end of a relationship. In “Fire and Ice” and “A Poison Tree”, Frost and Blake make use of contrast, metaphors, and Biblical illusions to illuminate the bond between desire and hate.
In “Fire and Ice”, Frost juxtaposes the destructive powers of fire and ice. Frost states that “from what [he's] tasted of desire[,] [he] holds with those who ...view middle of the document...

Frost's “Fire and Ice” circles around the idea of desire, hate, and destruction and their symbolic counterparts. The duality of desire, hate and destruction may be expressed by Frost on a scientific as well as metaphoric level. Science shows that in the future, humanity will either be wiped out by an ice age or by the sun engulfing the planet. Both ideas are reasonable on a logical level since the temperature patterns on Earth have always suggested a reoccurring ice age every now and then. As well, the Sun is expected to do one of two things, become a red giant or go supernova. If the Sun becomes a red giant, it will expand to the point where Mercury, Venus, and Earth will definitely be absorbed by the Sun. If the Sun goes supernova, our solar system will be destroyed by the explosion of the sun. Therefore, many scientists may believe that our demise will come about in one of these two ways. Hence, Frost's statement that “some say the world will end in fire[,] some say in ice” is correct logically. On top of this, Frost may be suggesting the world will end due to fire and ice metaphorically. There may be some connotations to war since this poem was written after World War I. Desire may have influenced some countries' involvement as well as in World War I. Russia's initial involvement may have been due to the fact that Serbia had good relations with Russia and that Russia desired to keep this relationship. Hate had an especially profound impact during the beginning of the war. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand created a massive increase in violence to Serbs, since some of the people who assassinated him were Serbian. This simultaneous existence of desire and hate during wars may suggest the idea that humanity will bring about its own end. In “A Poison Tree”, Blake uses the poison tree as a metaphor, describing an ironic situation. The title, “A Poison Tree” is an ironic statement in itself since poison may represent death while trees represent life. The combination of the two creates a satirical tone that is flushed out throughout the poem. When the speaker describes the way that the tree was raised, he or she uses negative vocabulary to describe typically positive act. The speaker mentions “watering [the tree] in fear” and “sunning [the tree] with smiles and with soft deceitful wiles” (5, 7-8), which implies the tree was grown with twisted care. Also, the poison tree bears an apple which ends up killing the speaker's foe, contrary to what an apple usually does. This warped imagery shows that the desire and hate that the speaker grows throughout the poem ends up warping his sense of reality and mind, causing the death of his foe. When the foe's death is mentioned, the speaker seems to be referring to a...

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