The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

The Road Not Chosen: A Misunderstood Poem

The Road Not Chosen is widely regarded as one of the most misunderstood poetry in a variety of contexts. The poem is straightforward, but it has a critical notch that adds to its allure. The poem alludes to moral quandaries of life.

The Two Paths

The poem depicts two paths that are almost identical, with nothing to distinguish them. The traveler is supposed to choose a route without understanding what awaits him. The same can be said for life decisions. When faced with a dilemma, the alternatives are frequently close, and either solution has an unpredictable outcome. Just as the title states, their nature of the decision does not indicate whether it is the right path or not. It is only the chosen path (Frost, 1975).

Exploring the Meaning

What words or ideas lead you to this meaning?

"And both that morning equally lay" - This refers to the similarity of the roads. None of the roads were used more than the other.

"Yet Knowing how way leads to way" - The narrator depicts the nexus of free will and fate. Making choices is free, but we are not aware beforehand of the choices we make.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh" - The speaker is hopeful of the unknown surprise his decision holds. He is not sure if it is the right decision but anticipates the future insincerity.

Poetic Elements

Choose at least five words or figures of speech within the poem that is particularly powerful to you?

"And be one traveler, I stood"

"And having perhaps the better claim..."

"Though as for that, the passing there/ had worn them equally about the same"

"Oh, I kept the first for another day"

"Somewhere ages and ages..."

Elements of the Poem

Choose at least five elements of the poem and identify how they are used in the poem?

Diction: Frost uses poetic diction in the poem. This is depicted at the beginning of the last stanza, "I will be saying with a sigh" The poem is also formal making it serious yet accessible to all readers. Frost incorporates a classic sounding style that is unique.

Alliteration: This is depicted in the bold sound "o." For instance, "Two Roads diverged in a yellow wood" (Frost, 1975).

Irony: Irony is illustrated in the last stanza of the poem. When the speaker projects a future where he would narrate the events of that day, he holds thoughts that are in contrast with what he previously expressed earlier. In the future he will tell about his decision to settle upon the road traveled less, yet in a real sense, it is hard to tell the roads apart (Frost, 2015).

Symbolism: The poem integrates the use of symbols to a significant margin. From the start, the Road is a symbol. It represents the journey of life. The setting of the poem is also symbolized. This is seen in the description of the leaves, therefore placing the time of the season to be autumn. Also, fall is used to refer to later years, the speaker is thus advanced and experienced in the walks of life.

Connotation: There are several connotations in the poem. For instance, "Road" is also referred to a path upon which someone can travel. It also relates to choice (Frost, 1975).

Understanding and Enjoyment of the Poem

How do words and poetic elements in the poem contribute to a better understanding and enjoyment of the poem?

The words and poetic elements give the poem a simple image of an individual's journey through life.

With a simple touch, Frost is able to tap great importance in daily life, and provides a better understanding to who we really are.

The elements depict profound images in light of the poem's setting and other descriptions.


Frost, R. (2015). The road not taken and other poems. Penguin.

Frost, R. (1975). The road not taken. Stemmer House Publishers.

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