Often times we overthink and criticize ourselves when it comes to making a decision to the point of having regret and sorrow. When we are up against a fork in the road distress kicks in, creating a heavyweight and burden that brings doubt and concerns if we made the right decision. What if the decision we regret is actually the best one for us? The poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost unfolds a mystery of a traveler who is challenged to pick the next road to take and if it is the “right one.” The theme of the poem analyzes the free will of a choice being made, the decision of why the road is chosen, and what the effects are. This essay will discuss the imagery contained in the poem to convey its meaning, the use of symbolism that ties into the structure based on making life decisions, as well as clarifying the tone in context. Robert Frost sheds light throughout the poem creating a dynamic way of presenting two roads that ultimately symbolize the essence of being the same and equal to one another, and representing whichever road we take will benefit us either way.
The first display of imagery occurs in line 1 when the speaker mentions “yellow wood” which in terms means the start of a new day(Frost 856). In comparison, line 11 states “and both that morning equally lay” giving confirmation by the examples of imagery mentioning the word “morning” which brings reassurance for a new beginning or new start(Frost 857). In line 6 “then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear” shows imagery of the road that was taken by it’s description and the road calling for exploration(Frost 856).
The symbol of taking the road that hasn’t been traveled on suggests that the speaker is ready to have a new start and is convinced to travel the road by it’s inviting natural elements that still remains unknown. In the first stanza it says ‘Two roads diverged’ perhaps represent the strongest use for symbolism. This declares a fork in the road by the speaker having to choose between the two roads, which demonstrates a difficult decision ahead. Frost uses symbolism throughout this poem that suggests there is more meaning to both roads that meets the eye. For example, lines 9 through 11 states “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” indicates that the speaker notices later that the two roads are really the same and are equal(Frost 857). To justify this further, poetry Columnist David Orr put it this way in his interview with Pbs, “it does not matter which road you take. The two roads are the same and are interchangeable”.
The beginning tone of the poem starts with the speaker justifying reasons why to go down the road in sight. The appearances stand out most to the speaker which draws the conclusion as to which road to take. Towards the middle of the poem the speaker notices that both of the roads are the same(857). The tone changes drastically at the end when the speaker states “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”(Frost 857). We can sense first off that the speaker regrets or is unsure about the decision of the road he took by revealing the word “sigh.” The speaker is actually using the word “sigh” to demonstrate that he wishes he could travel both roads instead of just one. Later we see the road that is taken after all has made all the difference, emphasizing that the speaker is reassured in the results and outcome of their actions.
As you can see the title “The Road Not Taken” says it all by unveiling the road less traveled was chosen but also informs us the regret for the road of lost possibilities. The moral of the story is to not freight over what could have been and focus on one road at a time.