In "Design" author, Robert Frost, reminds the reader that our world is steeped with fate and irony and quite often people don't recognize the irony. Frost illustrates this concept throughout the poem in a number of different ways.
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,.
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth.
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth-.
Assorted characters of death and blight.
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,.
Like the ingredients of a witches" broth-.
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,.
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What has that flower to do with being white,.
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?.
What brought the kindred spider to that height,.
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?.
What but design to appal?-.
If design govern in a thing so small.
Frost uses the colour white to provide an ironic contrast throughout the poem. He first uses white to describe the spider in the first line, "I found a dimpled spider, fat and white," (Frost). This is ironic because white usually symbolizes purity, goodness, and innocence, but in this case, the spider is the one that is taking the life of the moth. It is also significant that Frost describes the heal-all as being white as well. This is ironic because heal-alls are usually blue and suggest health. In this case, the heal-all is acting as a death trap because it is holding up the web that captures the moth. In the next line, Frost refers to the web as a "white piece of rigid satin cloth" (Frost). This is significant because a white piece of rigid satin cloth is usually thought of as something beautiful, such as a wedding dress, but in this case, it is thought of as the lining of a coffin. .
At the end of the first stanza, the contrast between the colour white and the obvious horror of the scene is apparent. In one line, Frost uses the words "death and blight" and "witches broth", but in the next line, he refers to the spider as a "snow-drop", which suggests purity, and to the moth's wings as "a paper kite", which suggests innocence.