“The Road Not Taken” is one of Robert Frost’s most popular and memorable works published in 1916. The poem puts forward the point that no matter what choice one may make, even a good choice, one will still look back and wonder what would have happened with a different decision. Frost has illustrated this with beautiful imagery of paths, a traveler, and a yellow wood.
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The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Analysis of Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”
“The Road Not Taken” is one of poet Robert Frost’s most elegant and popular works. Published in 1916, this poem in many ways epitomizes the importance of following your own path in society, and how one cannot find their own potential if one follows someone else’s way.
In the poem, the narrator, a conflicted traveller, describes how he has come to a split in a road through a “yellow wood” where he wishes he could travel both routes, but at the same time, he realizes that traveling through both roads is not a practical choice. This stanza presents the dilemma of having to make a choice where both the options seem appealing. The narrator looks down one path as far as he can see but decides to take the other. The narrator takes the road that has not been used, which illustrates that he was willing to try something different. Frost focuses on how our choices and hopes play a large role in our life. The narrator wonders about his lost opportunities as his choice takes him to one future and leaves another behind.
He thinks the path he decides to take is not as used as the other, but really, the paths are about the same and the fallen leaves on both look very nice and fresh. He tells himself that he will come back and take the other road. But he knows that in reality, that is unlikely to happen. The poem is not about the road taken, but about the road not taken. Frost presents how sometimes we have to make a decision without being able to know or see clearly how life-changing that decision will be.