Symbolism In Frost's 'Design' By Robert Frost

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By Design The problem of pain is an issue that many have struggled with in their search for the truth about our creator. It is certainly a difficult question. How could a God who is known to be good allow evil to enter the world? In his beautiful poem, “Design,” Robert Frost grapples with this issue. In this short, 14-line piece, Frost begs a question that is at first not so readily apparent to the reader. Frost’s speaker begins by telling his readers the story of a spider devouring a moth upon a white flower. Following his story, he asks his audience why these things occurred. In order for the readers to discern the purpose of the story, Frost shows its true intentions in the structure, tone, and symbolism in the poem itself. The …show more content…
In the first stanza, the speaker lays out a metaphor of spider who eats a moth on a white flower. This, though seemingly gruesome and trivial, is full of meaning when put next to the second stanza. The second stanza asks a series of questions asking why this has occurred. “What had that flower to do with being white, the wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that spider to that height, then steered the white moth thither in the night?” (Frost). These questions seem on the onset of the stanza to be questioning the meaning of life, however, the following question makes it clear what the speaker intended. “What but design of darkness to appall? If design govern in a thing so small” (Frost). This reveals the speaker’s metaphor. The white flower represents the earth and the moth represents the people that inhabit it. The spider devouring the moth represents the evil that consumes the us and the world that we live in. In this way, Frost’s speaker begs the question of evil in the world. Additionally, he challenges the control of any potential designer’s control over what he has created. Once these metaphors are revealed at the end of poem, the theme is unveiled in its

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