What Figures of Speech Are Used in “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost?

Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” uses figures of speech such as paradox, synecdoche, understatement and alliteration. A paradox has contradictory elements that might be true, a synecdoche is a part of something that represents its whole, an understatement under-emphasizes and an alliteration has lines starting with the same sound.

In the poem, the line “But if it had to perish twice” is a paradox, while synecdoche use is in “The heat of love and the cold of hate are seen as having cataclysmic power.” In addition, there is alliteration in the first two lines that begin with “Some say”, while the final word “suffice” underlines the poem’s understatement with irony. With the destructive nature of human emotions as its theme, the lyric poem gives a nod to Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” in its nine lines.