The Road Not Taken


Word Count: 725

The Road Not Taken - an analysis "Do not follow where the
path may lead... Go instead where there is no path and leave
a trail." -Robert Frost Everyone is a traveler, choosing the
roads to follow on the map of their continuous journey, life.
There is never a straight path that leaves one with but a sole
direction in which to head. Regardless of the original
message that Robert Frost had intended to convey, his
poem, "The Road Not Taken", has left its readers with many
different interpretations. It is oneís past, present and the
attitude with which he looks upon his future that determines
the shade of the light that he will see the poem in. In any
case however, this poem clearly demonstrates Frostís belief
that it is the road that one chooses that makes him the man
who he is. "And sorry I could not travel both..." It is always
difficult to make a decision because it is impossible not to
wonder about the opportunity cost, what will be missed out
on. There is a strong sense of regret before the choice is
even made and it lies in the knowledge that in one lifetime, it
is impossible to travel down every path. In an attempt to
make a decision, the traveler "looks down one as far as I
could". The road that will be chosen leads to the unknown,
as does any choice in life. As much he may strain his eyes to
see as far the road stretches, eventually it surpasses his
vision and he can never see where it is going to lead. It is the
way that he chooses here that sets him off on his journey and
decides where he is going. "Then took the other, just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim." What made it have the
better claim is that "it was grassy and wanted wear." It was
something that was obviously not for everyone because it
seemed that the majority of people took the other path
therefore he calls it "the road less travelled by". The fact that
the traveler took this path over the more popular, secure one
indicates the type of personality he has, one that does not
want to necessarily follow the crowd but do more of what
has never been done, what is new and different. "And both
that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden
black." The leaves had covered the ground and since the
time they had fallen no one had yet to pass by on this road.
Perhaps Frost does this because each time a person comes
to the point where they have to make a choice, it is new to
them, somewhere they have never been and they tend to feel
as though no one else had ever been there either. "I kept the
first for another day!" The desire to travel down both paths
is expressed and is not unusual, but "knowing how way
leads on to way", the speaker of this poem realizes that the
decision is not just a temporary one and he "doubted if I
should ever come back." This is his common sense speaking
and acknowledging that what he chooses now will affect
every other choice he makes afterward. Once you have
performed an act or spoken a word that crystalizes who you
are, there is no turning back, it cannot be undone. Once
again at the end of the poem the regret hangs over the
traveler like a heavy cloud about to burst. He realizes that at
the end of his life, "somewhere ages and ages hence", he will
have regrets about having never gone back and traveling
down the roads he did not take. Yet he remains proud of his
decision and he recognizes that it was this path that he chose
that made him turn out the way and he did and live his life
the way in which he lived. "I took the road less trvaeled by
and that had made all the difference." To this man, what was
most important, what really made the difference, is that he
did what he wanted, even if it meant taking the road less
traveled. If he hadnít, he wouldnít be the same man he is
now. There are many equally valid meanings to this poem
and Robert Frost may have intended this. He may have been
trying to achieve a universal understanding. In other words,
there is no judgement, no specificity, no moral. There is
simply a narrator who makes a decision in his life that