“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Introduction

The poem depicts a traveler who has arrived at a fork in a forest where two roads diverge. It thus presents his dilemma in deciding which road to continue traveling on. In normal circumstances, such a traveler would have a map with him and it goes to illustrate that the traveler was either a wanderer or was simply lost. We observe that this can be taken to be an analogy of real life. Many times, just like the traveler, we find that we are faced with decisions that could either bring us happiness or misfortune depending on the choices we make. The fact that it is not apparent which road is better, fits even more appropriately with situations where we recognize that there is no definite map to guide us towards our best actions.

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The line ‘And looked down as far as I could’ show that the traveler is trying to make his decision using foresight (Frost 9). This alludes to our common habit of predicting outcomes based on our knowledge or experiences in a particular circumstance. We often research to find out more about our options in the hope that such information will justify our actions.

Connection with other texts

An interesting connection can be sought by analyzing the phrase ‘to be or not to be’ found in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In Hamlet, the phrase is used to show Hamlet’s dilemma. He was trying to decide whether or not to continue living with his rich family which he had convinced himself to be evil or to die and end the pain of having his love rejected by Ophelia. The fact that he could not quite conclude on which of the two options is better for him shows a relationship to the dilemma in this poem.

Writer’s attitude

The writer tends to bring in the notion that his choice to take either road may make an ultimate impact on the rest of his life. This statement might be subjective due to the possibility that choosing the other road could just as well have been a good option. The message portrayed by the poem is that only one road will lead to a good ending in life regardless of other decisions made along the way by the traveler. In real life, however, we observe that the certainty of future outcomes cannot quite be established but it will ultimately be a result of changing circumstances and our reactions towards them.

The writer can be seen to carry a strong belief in predestination. By setting out the implications of taking either path we see that he believes the decision he makes determines his fate. We can also infer that the writer bears a confused attitude towards his predicament seeing as his descriptions of the two paths have a contradictory connotation. He at first describes one as having ‘the better claim’ because it had more grass yet he claims that the other path was just as grassy (Frost 9). We also get the idea that the writer is one who is afraid to make any decisions given the further reference to more divergences that may await him further on; ”how way leads on to way” (Frost, 9).

Stylistic devices

There are instances of imagery within the poem. The first and more obvious instance of this is in the depiction of choices as roads. The use of colors to describe the leaves and the forest seem to have an underlying meaning. We may question why he chose to describe the wood as yellow and the treading of leaves to be black.

Works Cited

Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken, Birches and Other Poems, Claremont, California: Coyote Canyon Press, 2010. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 6). "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-road-not-taken-by-robert-frost-article/

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""The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost." StudyCorgi, 6 May 2021, studycorgi.com/the-road-not-taken-by-robert-frost-article/.

1. StudyCorgi. ""The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost." May 6, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-road-not-taken-by-robert-frost-article/.


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StudyCorgi. ""The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost." May 6, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-road-not-taken-by-robert-frost-article/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. ""The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost." May 6, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-road-not-taken-by-robert-frost-article/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) '"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost'. 6 May.

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