Frost’s Poem the Road not Taken

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“In the poem, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost the theme portrays the utmost effects of making a choice. In life we are faced with many decisions, and there are points where we must let fate take the lead. “The Road Not Taken” uses two paths to symbolize two separate life decisions. However, to truly understand this poem, you must obtain a relatively clear idea of life’s meaning. Throughout this poem the author helps us better understand the message delivered by, his use of imagery, symbolism, and metaphors.

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Imagery withholds an importance throughout Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. Comparable to many of his other poems, Frost withholds this juxtaposition between natural beauty and nature. Most imagery portrayed is visual in nature; although the narrator doesn’t mention wildlife sounds, insects, or outside characteristics, the reader can imagine the path obtains a crunch when the narrator steps on it. Another visual image Frost mentioned is “the morning,” (Frost line 11). providing the reader with an idea that his journey has just begun. The portrayed idea symbolizes a still-young person, with many choices to come, attempting to make a very important decision. Other sounds are easily inferred from the fall setting, although none are mentioned. Likewise, there aren’t any olfactory senses, gustation senses, or somatosensorial senses mentioned; the poem relies more on decision making based on future preferences with current knowledge. The imagery displayed throughout this poem withholds a significance to the meaning. Without the description of the paths and even the forest, the idea of the narrator being indecisive about decision-making would not make sense.

Several writers use symbolism to reveal certain occurrences in life or to introduce an importance about life and people. Symbolism helps decipher the true meaning of what it is an author is trying to say. For instance, Frost tells of a fork in a road where he is had to decide ultimately which road he will take. If the poem had not contained such symbolism, but instead it was just a story about someone walking through the woods, it wouldn’t obtain meaning that is memorable and easy to relate to. In fact, without symbolism at all, the poem would be rather dull. But what exactly is it that Frost tells us about decision making through symbolism? First, we are informed that both roads are relatively similar. And with that similarity, one is just as fair as the other and, “both that morning equally lay/ in leaves no step had trodden black.” (Frost lines 11-12). The symbolism presented is, in life, difficult decisions often have alternatives and are found to be similarly balanced. Ideally, both the advantages and disadvantages of each are weighed out and an ultimate decision must be made. As the poem continues, the author looks down one road and then goes down another, expressing regret that he could not travel both at once. It can be inferred that he tries to make himself feel less regretful by saying that he left, “the first for another day.” (Frost line 13). However, he quickly comes to the realization that it is very unlikely. The symbolism of the two roads clarify his realization because, “how way leads on to way,” (Frost line 14). infers that his return to the opposing path is dubious.

In addition to imagery and symbolism, Frost also uses metaphors throughout his writing. In line one, the road splitting is a metaphor for a choice. Wherever the author’s life has guided him thus far, he has reached a peak where, to proceed any further, he must make a choice that takes him down one path and avert him from choosing the other. In lines four through five, “And looked down one as far as I could/ To where it bent in the undergrowth,” (Frost). the use of a metaphor is presented through the vision of the future. Just like we can only see so far visually, we can only see temporary consequences of the decisions we make. The repetition of the line “two roads diverged,” can be described as an extended metaphor, which can be concluded by the following lines, “I took the one less traveled by/ And that has made all the difference.” (Frost lines 19-20). In line nineteen, one of the two paths are described as less traveled, even though the author seemed unknowing previously. Through various uses of metaphors, Frost displays the effects current decisions have on the future.

The underlying meaning of Frost’s poem relies on the utmost effects of decision making. As many people experience difficult scenarios, they face mind altering decisions that can lead to many diverse outcomes. Frost discusses the inevitable effects of the decision-making process throughout his writing. The use of metaphors, imagery, and symbolism make the interpretations relatable and easy to decipher in correlation to the overall meaning of the poem.”

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Frost's Poem The Road Not Taken. (2021, May 24). Retrieved from