The poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost has one major theme. It talks about the paths we choose in life, the choices we make and what we may lose by taking one path instead of the other. Life is a journey and just like in any journey a person needs to make hard choices. Just as the protagonist of the story, we are often put in front of a choice and the decision we take may influence us for the rest of the life. Even though we might have a chance to try the other road later, “I doubted if I should ever come back”. The author understands that often chances are lost and so it is vital to take the best way.
The first stanza is the one that talks about the literal setting of the poem. We find our main character in the middle of a forest, in the middle of nature. He is standing in front of two paths, one of which he has to take. For a long time he observes and analyzes the roads in front oh him. Both of the paths seem rather equally worn at first. Later in the poem the writer is convinced that he’ll be taking the one which is less chosen, just to return back to his original belief that both paths are most likely equally taken.
The setting of the poem is a forest. The reader does not know exactly what forest he is transported to but it is definitely a wilderness. The season of the story also draws our attention. By the yellow woods we may conclude that it is fall. Autumn in itself symbolizes the adulthood or even the old age of our protagonist. Many things here have symbolic meaning. The woods are thick and the two roads disappear in the undergrowth. This goes to show that the future is rather unclear whichever road we take.
This language of this piece of art is very much poetic. It is filled with epithets which paint a vivid picture in front of our eyes. The yellow wood, fair and grassy road – all of this contributes to the general atmosphere of the poem. The metaphors teleport us to the forest and place the reader right in front of the fork in the road, right in front of the decision that the writer has so much trouble making.
The poem “Road Not Taken” has 4 stanzas, each with their own goal and meaning.. Keeping in mind that the main character of the poem is a man, the author has done his best to make the rhymes strict and masculine. This firm hand is strongly felt and perfectly goes with the mood of the moment. The protagonist is put in front of a difficult decision and this is the perfect time to set your mind straight and just make a choice. It keeps us on the edge of our seat and does not let us relax. This masculinity completely supports the main idea of the poem.
The narrator of the poem is a man and that is all we know about his appearance. It can be assumed that he is not a young man because his thoughts are rather philosophical and he already understands that if he doesn’t take a path now, he may not be able to return to it later. However, this is a person who doesn’t make choices lightly. He takes the time to analyze the possibilities at hand. The stat is of the paths is observed and although one is found less walked on, he comes to the conclusion that they are rather the same. However, the fact that he earlier decides to take a less popular road shows that he is an individuality and does want to stand out from those around him.
Throughout the poem we follow the narrator’s flow of thought. We are with him from the time he sees the two choices in front of him to the time he makes his final decision. Even though he does utter a sigh in the end it can be interpreted in different ways. It can be a sigh of relief for finding the best way to follow or a sigh of regret, for the opportunity he might have lost forever.
All in all, this is a rather tricky poem as many have put it. It can be interpreted in different ways. This is exactly what makes it a great work of art. If a person can read the piece and find something just for him or her in it, the is the main feature of a masterpiece of world literature.
Robert Frost (2/21/2011) The Road Not Taken. Retrieved from http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-road-not-taken/