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”The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1204
  • Category: Poetry

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Imagine that your making a decision and you are stuck to choose between two things that could change and impact your life greatly. What would you do? What pathway would you take?

Robert Frost wrote ‘The Road Not Taken’ in 1916 at the age of 42 in New England, Massachusetts. ‘The Road Not Taken’ is one of his most popular works due to the ideology of choices that people would have to face in their life. In the early 20th century, Robert Frost based the majority of his poems from rural life in New England, where he grew up. Robert Frost was highly regarded for his deep, realistic understanding of rural life and using elaborate social and philosophical themes in his works.

This poem explores a dilemma in which the poet’s describes his feeling and curiosity in which pathway to take and the regret he felt when making his decision. ‘The Road Not Taken’ is a form of an extended metaphor for people’s life journey not just walking in the woods and figuring out which pathway to take. This poem consists of 5 lines and 4 stanzas with a rhyme scheme of ABAAB with a narrative tone.

In ‘The Road Not Taken’ he implemented the setting on a rural area in New England in a deep forest that was set in autumn. This imagery can be illustrated in the first line of the poem, “Yellow wood”. This sensory image celebrates the power of the natural world through the season autumn.

In the first stanza of the poetry, the poet is giving background information on the situation that he is facing at the moment. This is illustrated in the first two lines of the poem when, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”. This quote highlights that there are two appealing pathways to go in the woods, however the traveller “could not travel both”.

The poet foregrounds which pathway to choose and he is figuring out which road to take. This demonstrates the inner conflict of the poet’s in making this decision. Imagery is used in “the two roads diverged” to emphasises that this traveller is on a journey however, he is finding it really difficult to choose which way to go.

In the second line, antithesis was used, when the traveller said, “sorry I could not travel both”. It reinforces when the traveller comes to the fork, which is a metaphor for two roads as he wishes that he could go on both ways.

When the poet stated that he “looked down one as far as I could, to where it bent in the undergrowth”. It establishes that the traveller is thinking hard on which pathway he should choose as he is looking at the pathways deeply to where it would lead him. However, the nature is blocking his view by the plants and the green of the woods as it is stated in the metaphor, “bent in the undergrowth”. The first stanza is fundamentally referring to the traveller choosing which pathway to go by the used of a variety of poetic techniques that includes, metaphors and imagery.

In the second stanza, Robert Frost uses a variety of poetic techniques to add more meaning to the poem and to give more information on the choices that the traveller has to make. In the first line, a metaphor was used, “Then took the other, as just as fair”. This metaphor suggests that the traveller made the right decision on what path to take but both roads still looks equally the same.

However on the second line, he becomes uncertain of his decision as he stated “perhaps the better claim”. This quote indicates that the traveller is starting to regret his decision on choosing the path over the other. A personification and alliteration was used in the third line, which is “wanted wear”. The used the two poetic techniques were used to demonstrate that the one road had more signs and grass than the other road.

Subsequently, the traveller changed his mind again as now he thought that both roads were equally worn. This can be demonstrated in the last two lines when “though as not for the passing there, had worn them really about the same”. This extended metaphor, illustrates that both pathways are less worn as not many people has taken those two pathways for a long period of time. For the second stanza, the traveller is describing that both pathways are equally the same through the used of extended metaphors, personification and metaphors.

On third stanza, the poet is providing additional information on the season by “And both that morning equally lay, in leaves no step had trodden black”. This imagery of the season autumn symbolises the perfect layers of yellow leaves on the path as for a long period of time no one has walked on it yet. On third line, onomatopoeia was used which is “oh” that illustrates an emphatic tone for the decision that he made. The traveller is now regretting the decision that he made.

On the last two lines, an extended metaphor was used, “Yet knowing how way leads on to way”, “I doubted if I should ever come back”. These last two lines of the third stanza, heightens the attention of readers that he hopes that he could try the other path as the traveller knows ‘how one road can lead to another’. Also, the traveller is having doubts as it is impossible to retrace steps as other choices or decisions can lead to other options in life. The third stanza raises the awareness to readers as he decided to stick with the decision that he made but still with a bit of regrets.

The last stanza, Robert Frost uses a number of poetic techniques, in order to demonstrate the fear and regrets as he already made which path to go and now, there’s no turning back. In the first line onomatopoeia was used and that is “sigh”. This onomatopoeia illustrates that the reaction and emotions that the traveller endured was regrets and sadness due to the decision that he made. On the third line, Frost uses repetition from the first line on the first stanza, “Two roads diverged in a wood”. The repetition was used to evoke the importance of the travellers’ decision-making by choosing which path to take. The last two lines is an extended metaphor, as the traveller “took the one less travelled by,” “And that has made all the difference”. This extended metaphor highlights that the traveller took the pathway that no one else did. This suggests that by the amount of time he spent making this decision, he went for the one that felt right to him. The travellers’ decision made his life different even though fear is stopping him for making a decision in what pathway he would choose.

To conclude, The Road not Taken by Robert Frost is an extended metaphor with a narrative tone that uses a variety of poetic techniques including, metaphors, personification, onomatopoeia, antithesis and repetition. The Road Not Taken relates to the anthology theme of “Live life with no regrets”.

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