The Road Not Taken and Other Poems by Robert FrostTwo roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
These deceptively simple lines from the title poem of this collection suggest Robert Frost at his most representative: the language is simple, clear and colloquial, yet dense with meaning and wider significance. Drawing upon everyday incidents, common situations and rural imagery, Frost fashioned poetry of great lyrical beauty and potent symbolism.
Originally published in 1916 under the title Mountain Interval.
The Road Not Taken
Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. His poems are published online and in print. If life is a journey, this poem highlights those times in life when a decision has to be made. Which way will you go? The ambiguity springs from the question of free will versus determinism, whether the speaker in the poem consciously decides to take the road that is off the beaten track or only does so because he doesn't fancy the road with the bend in it.
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
When analyzing Robert Frost 's poem, "The Road Not Taken," first look at the shape of the poem on the page: four stanzas of five lines each; all lines are capitalized, flush left, and of approximately the same length. There are four beats per line, mostly iambic with interesting use of anapests. The strict form makes it clear that the author is very concerned with form, with regularity. These three lines wrap the poem up and are its most famous lines. Independence, iconoclasm, self-reliance—these seem the great American virtues. This is the path that was, as he states,.
This poem has a pretty complicated form. We'll start with the relatively simple stuff. The poem consists of four stanzas with five lines each. These are called quintains. For example, take the first stanza: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, A And sorry I could not travel both B And be one traveler, long I stood A And looked down one as far as I could A To where it bent in the undergrowth; B The rhythm of the poem is a bit trickier. It is basically iambic, which means that there is one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable da DUM.
The speaker stands in the woods, considering a fork in the road. Both ways are equally worn and equally overlaid with un-trodden leaves. The speaker chooses one, telling himself that he will take the other another day. Yet he knows it is unlikely that he will have the opportunity to do so. And he admits that someday in the future he will recreate the scene with a slight twist: He will claim that he took the less-traveled road. The rhyme scheme is ABAAB; the rhymes are strict and masculine, with the notable exception of the last line we do not usually stress the -ence of difference. There are four stressed syllables per line, varying on an iambic tetrameter base.