The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Summary

It was autumn. The leaves of trees had turned yellow. The poet was passing through a forest. He reached a junction. Two roads diverged in two different directions. He regretted that he could not travel on both the roads. He stood there for a long time. He looked down one road as far as he could see. He could see it upto a point where it turned to the undergrowth and disap-peared.

The poet took the other road. It was just as fair as the first one. Moreover it had a better claim to be walked upon. It was grassy and wanted wear. Less number of travellers had walked upon it. However, as far as passing was concerned, both the roads had been worn equally.

That morning, both the roads lay equally covered with yellow leaves which had not been trodden much by the travellers. The poet kept the first road for another day knowing well how one way leads on to another. He doubted whether he would ever come back to walk on the other road.

The poet feels that ages from now he would be telling others with a sigh about the choice he made. Two roads diverged in a forest and he took the one which had been travelled less by the people. And that had made all the difference in his life.

Analysis

The Road Not Taken depicts the dilemma that a person has to face involving the choices and decisions one has to make in one’s life.

It is a biographical poem related to a momentous decision taken by the poet. It tells about a man who comes to a fork, in the road he is travelling upon. The poet uses the fork in the road as a metaphor for the choices a person makes in life. The two roads in fact represent two alternative ways of life.

The man stands there contemplating, and feels sad that he is unable to travel on both roads as both of them seem to be rewarding. He chooses the less travelled, grassy road because it needs wear and leaves the other road for some other day. Though he is not sure if ever again he would pass by it because one road leads to another and leaves no chance to change one’s decision, so be won’t get a chance to go back. The man then says that he will be telling with a ‘sigh‘ someday in the future, still thinking what life would have been if he had chosen the more travelled road. Though his decision to take the less travelled road has made all the difference.

Generally people are confused when they have to make a choice because it has far-reaching consequences Hence, they often follow the less risky and more acceptable decision. Very few dare to take up challenges and choose a less travelled road. To think off the beaten track always pays and makes the difference. The two roads depict the confusion, in spite of making a choice one is never content and feels may be the other choice was better.

The speaker doesn’t seem happy because he regrets to have taken up the second road. His statement ‘this has made all the difference‘ is a sort of confession of repentant, hesitation and sighing. Perhaps the poet refers to his choice of profession as a poet and his sailing to England (in 1912) leaving behind the safe but beaten tracks of his motherland where he could have led a happy and contented life of a farmer.

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