Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” appeared for the first time in 1916 in his collection of poetry The Mountain Interval. It is widely considered to be one of the best poems in the collection. An unusual fusion of “inner lyric vision and the outward contemplative narration” may be found in this poem.
When the poet is forced to decide which of two paths to go, his imagination is sparked. The poet seizes the opportunity to offer a few observations about the weighty matter of decision-making here. In this poem, Frost explores one of his recurring themes—the difficulty of making a decision—which is also highlighted by G.W. Nitchie.
Read more: Leisure Poem by W. H. Davies: Summary and Analysis
The poet in this piece is a young man who has made the conscious decision to embrace the day and follow a path that is “less travelled by.” All the way from the first line to the last, the poet expresses some degree of scepticism. The fundamental theme of the poem is the expression of apprehension regarding the outcomes of various options. What people remember most, though, is the philosophy of life and the difficulty of making decisions.
Summary of the poem “The Road Not Taken”
Frost tells us in this poem that he was out travelling by himself one day when he came to a fork in the road and found himself at a place when the route split into two different paths.
Frost had a hard time deciding which path to pursue out of the two available options. He was unable to make up his mind and hesitated for a considerable amount of time.
In the end, he was in a position to select one of the two roads, and he picked the one that he believed had a lower volume of traffic in comparison to the other route. But the poet also recognised immediately that there was no genuine difference because the road would have worn it about the same.
This realisation came about as a result of the fact that he was going through it. Even at this important point, when they were forced to make a choice, the poet was conscious of the significance of the choice, both generally and specifically.
In general, the poet is aware of the fact that a person must frequently make decisions for themselves. One can never have the finest of everything all of the time. When faced with a decision, one is forced to rank their priorities and is put to the test as a result.
Read more: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud: Summary and Analysis
In particular, the poet has a hunch that one day he may look back in reflection and perhaps be happy that he chose the path that was less travelled. This is because the poet picked the route less travelled. And this is the factor that has altered the poet’s perspective.
Analysis of the poem “The Road Not Taken”
While strolling through some yellow woodlands, the speaker comes across a road fork. In a white woodland, two paths diverged, and the poet was sad that he couldn’t go down either one of them. He observed one of them for quite some time, all the way out to where it curved into the brushwood.
The poet then turned along an alternative path that was just as free of debris and litter, if not more so, given that it was carpeted in grass and free of footprints. Despite this difference, the two roads were otherwise equivalent, being similarly travelled. Moreover, the grass along both paths that day was standing straight, giving the impression that they had not been travelled.
The poet, regrettably, went for Option 2, saving Option 1 for a rainy day. Though he was aware that one road suddenly leads to another, he was still unsure of whether or not he would ever go back to explore the other route.
According to the poet, he would always feel melancholy when recalling this event. The narrator mulls over what may have been and expresses regret about his final decision.
This is one of the most treasured poems because of its beautiful lyricism and abundance of symbolic meaning. In this poem, the road is both literal and metaphorical. This poem is symbolic of the many paths we can take in life and the decisions we must make along the way. Eventually, we reach an age where we start to contemplate what our lives would have been like had we taken a different path.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they are confronted with a difficult choice. As it is impossible to travel down two paths at once, you must choose one and proceed. Because we are only able to go in one direction, we are unable to return to our previous decision-making point. We wonder what our lives would have been like if we hadn’t taken the path we did.
A bit tricky and open to multiple interpretations, the poem is often misread.
Although it’s really about the regret we feel after making a choice, many people read into it the warning not to take the most popular route. It’s human nature to second-guess oneself and assign blame for life’s little mishaps.
Read more: “Go And Catch A Falling Star” : Summary And Analysis
And yet, it’s also true that no matter what path we take or choices we make, we’ll inevitably run into unexpected challenges and opportunities. On the other hand, we might have found a better option down the road.
It’s tinged with hesitancy, with not knowing which path to take. This is the hesitation of a confident but modest man, one who thinks things through thoroughly before acting, not out of fear but out of habit.
Concluding remarks about the poem “The Road Not Taken”
Frost’s artistic range and flexibility are on full display in this progressive work. Unbelievably, it is the first-person speaker who openly and honestly introduces himself to the audience, flaws and all.
Without any hint of conceit, he lets us know that he is Hamlet-like in that he is far too perceptive and thoughtful to act without first carefully considering the consequences. As opposed to Hamlet, though, he feels bad about his decisions.
Even after he’s made his decision, he can’t help but pine for the option he passed up. He still hasn’t accepted the idea that mankind must figure out how to live with its inherent constraints. When the path splits in two, the narrator laments that he is only “one traveller” and so may not be able to take either option.
Read more: Summary And Analysis Of “The Mystery Of Marie Rogêt”
One of the hardest lessons he has to learn is that man cannot have everything his way, that he is required to make a decision, and that once made, it cannot be changed. The best one can do is hope for the best. What a man sees extends far beyond the limits of his grasp. Even if one has a fixed gaze toward the heavens and a boundless desire to reach for the stars, they must never lose sight of the fact that they must first tread the land.