The Road Not Taken


By Robert Frost





Two roads diverged in a yellow wood


And sorry I could not travel both


And be one traveler, long I stood


And looked down one as far as I could


To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5


Then took the other, as just as fair


And having perhaps the better claim;


Because it was grassy and wanted wear;


Though as for that the passing there


Had worn them really about the same; 10


And both that morning equally lay


In leaves no step had trodden black.


Oh, I kept the first for another day!


Yet knowing how way leads on to way,


I doubted if I should ever come back 15


I shall be telling this with a sign


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. 20


Life is full of choices to be made. Every decision we make has different consequences that go along with it. In Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, we have a perfect symbol of the fact that we must make choices in our lives. The poem also gives us a vivid description of the speaker’s look down two roads and the choice he has to make. In this poem, Frost analyzes steps we need to consider, the outcome of our actions and the point of making our choices. It is a wonderful poem known by many with deep meaning within.


Let’s take the first stanza of this poem.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood


And sorry I could not travel both


And be one traveler, long I stood


And looked down one as far as I could


To where it bent in the undergrowth; (lines 1-5)


This stanza introduces us to the decisions we are faced with. The ‘two roads’ represent the two sides of the choice we make, perhaps the good and the bad. Frost shows us that we can only choose one path to go down. We cannot “travel both.” This is the same in the sense that if you are driving you can only drive down one road. It is not possible to travel both at the same time. When the speaker tells us he was just one person and he stood there long, it shows us that we are the only ones who can make a decision for ourselves. It may take time and deep thought. This is what he is telling us in this stanza. We must remember that only we can make our own choices and that it may take time, but we have to analyze our choices.


In the second stanza the speaker talks more of the choice he wants to make:


Then took the other, as just as fair


And having perhaps the better claim;


Because it was grassy and wanted wear;


Though as for that the passing there


Had worn them really about the same; (lines 6 – 10)


The speaker tells us that he has now looked down the one road, and this one he looks at now is just about the same. Where it is the same, however, there seems to be something about it that is slightly better than the first or as the speaker puts it “having perhaps the better claim” (line 7). This road is calling out to him. He feels this road needs to be traveled down more, even though both roads have been worn down just about the same.


As the poem moves on to the third stanza, the speaker begins to show us his thought process and why he is choosing one path over the other.


And both that morning equally lay


In leaves no step had trodden black.


Oh, I kept the first for another day!


Yet knowing how way leads on to way,


I doubted if I should ever come back (lines 11 -15)


The speaker begins now to show us that he knows what is down the one path. He may have been there before. He feels that if he goes down the one path it will lead him to what he knows. Frost goes on to say that he will save the first path for another day. By this he means he can come back and make that same old choice anytime he wants to. He feels he should make the decision leading down the path he is