Every adult faces challenges and life-altering decisions. In “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost this dilemma is brought to life. The character in the poem has free will to choose whichever path he wants. He is completely unaware of what his choice will bring but he leaves it to chance. He knows he has to make a choice and that it is impossible to know whether or not it is the right choice. He knows that no matter what his choice is he will always wonder what his life would have been like had he chosen the other path. In reality there is no right or wrong path.
There are only decisions and outcomes. The theme of decision making in this poem takes a “seize the day” approach. No matter the outcome the traveler knows he still must make a decision and make the best of it. The setting of the poem takes place in the woods. The character is standing there studying a forked path. It is ironic that both paths are seemingly the same, they are both intriguing to the traveler and he wishes that he could travel them both. The forked path is symbolic of life and all of its many choices that must be made.
Just as the character is unaware of what his choice may bring, outcomes of adult choices do not always turn out as expected. The title of the poem “The Road Not Taken” is significant. The poem is named after the path that was ultimately not chosen, leaving the reader to believe to think it was written with regret. In stanza 4 the regret is brought to light with a metrical device. “Sigh” is an onomatopoeia that emphasizes the characters regret or relief. That one word makes the reader want to go back and reread the poem to make sure the theme is understood.
The traveler is either regretting his decision that he made or he is relieved that he made the best choice for himself. It is left up to the reader’s interpretation to discover what the poet was trying to say. Some other metrical devices used are imagery, symbolism, personification, rhyming, alliteration, and allegory. The reader is presented with imagery in “two roads diverged in a yellow wood” and again in “And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black”. This gives the reader something to visualize.
Personification is used in “because it was grassy and wanted wear. ” A road cannot produce a feeling to want wear. The rhyme scheme of ABAAB in this poem produces interest and makes for an entertaining read. Alliteration is used when the poet writes “wanted wear”. Allegory presents itself when the poet writes about the two paths when his ulterior message is about choices. All of the devices used in the poem support the poets overall theme. Out of all of the “roads” faced in life the roads not chosen to take have just as much impact as the roads that are chosen.
There is no way of knowing the outcome of a decision unless you make the decision and see what happens. You may be happy with that choice, or you may sigh and wish you had made a different choice. Some of the choices you make are final, the poet makes light of this when he writes “I doubted if I should ever come back”. It is as if he knows that he will not ever be returning to “The Path Not Taken”. The poet allows the reader to come to their own imaginations, ideas, and outcomes in this poem. This is a poem that can be interpreted many different ways.
Courtney from Study Moose
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