The Road Not Taken


by Robert Frost 

"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 one's past, present and the attitude
with which one looks upon one's future that determines the
shade of the light in which the poem is viewed.. In any
case however, this poem clearly demonstrates Frost's belief
that it is the road that one chooses that determines the
personality of the person. 
"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 lost; what might have been
missed.. 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
the road as far as I could". The road that will be chosen
leads to the unknown, as does any choice in life. As much
as one may try to see the farthest point of the road,
eventually it surpasses one's vision and the outcome can
never be predicted. It is the way that one chooses the
directions, that sets one off on the journey and decides
where one 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 traveled by". The fact that the traveler
took this path over the more popular, secure one indicates
the person's type of personality; one that does not want to
necessarily follow the crowd but do more of what has never
been done, something that 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. It can bring the person to places he/she has
never been and he/she tends to feel as though no one else
had ever been there either. "I kept the first for another
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 crystallizes 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 he
did and live his life the way in which he lived. "I took
the road less traveled 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
hadn't, he wouldn't 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 judgment, no specificity, no moral.
There is simply a narrator who makes a decision in his life
that had changed the direction of his life from what it may
have otherwise been. It allows all readers from all
different experiences to relate to the poem. 


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