Poem Analysis Paper on The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken, regarded as the most misunderstood poem is arguably amongst the highly celebrated pieces as far as the poetry world is concerned. Robert Frost takes readers through a journey using literary symbolism to derive his point home. In a simple picture, the poet succeeds in creating a great image of the personas dilemma leaving leaders to weigh in their thoughts and interpretations on the poem. In a nutshell, The Road Not Taken, written in 1916 has stood the test of time remaining iconic as it mirrors real life experiences and choices that people face on daily basis. It has a unique, straight to the point kind of title which insights readers on the expectations. Looking at the stanzas it is evident that the poet has expressed high level literary skills, transitioning readers throughout the subject matter development. A combination of diction, tone, imagery and many more styles has sided achieve the impact on readers that the poet intended. This paper evaluates every stanza pointing out not only its surface meaning but also other underlying themes expressed through the structured combination of words in persuasion of readers’ attitudes. Significantly the connection between these stanzas is considered, leading to the conclusion on the thematic objectives.


The first stanza kicks off presenting the context in which the persona of the poem is. On the onset it is critical to note that the poem points out a diversion of two roads, which poses a dilemma as to the persona who has two options. He hesitates, deliberating on which path to choose implying his regret in lacking the capacity to travel both roads. Nevertheless he looks at the two, roads which are similar all the way to the undergrowth creating a contention as he has no valid excuse to ignore the other, hinting that they look just the same. This stanza portrays the real life choices that people face on daily basis, ranging from career objectives, family related and investment decisions just tom mention a few. Everybody seeks regret free lives, and the contention to choose is solely weighing on advantages of each and resting upon the one deemed most favorable. Like the persona, many people ground their choices on conjecture on excuses with the hope that the paths they have chosen lead to the desired destinations.

Shifting gears, to the second stanza commences giving ultimatum to the contentions as the persona opts to choose the other road. This is regardless of the fact that the two roads were very similar to each other hence no need to prefer one over the other. Transitioning further, we can see the persona comforts himself as having made the better decision, following a road that wanted wear. He quickly retracts this statement, hinting that both routes had same tear. Focusing on this stanza, one cannot help but notice, the persona comforts himself with having made the right decision but deep down expresses, a what if? This situation portrays many people’s quick choices, which they regret just as soon as they have made, looking back on the paths they ignored.

The third stanza further solidifies the persona’s regret, expressing a self-comforting tone. Frost has used the line “Oh! I kept the first for another day” in the same stanza with” I doubted if Ii should ever come back” to point out the conflicts manifested in the persona’s conscious. It is as if the mind is maintaining that he made the right decision, while deep in his heart he feels he should have chosen the other. Finally in the last stanza, the foresights his story pointing out that in the future he may be telling of how his choice has made all the difference.

Having looked at the transitional elements and choice of words Frost uses, he paints the persona as being characterized by regret. No matter the choice he takes, he is going to look back and silently regret that he should have chosen the other. Furthermore being that the title of the poem is “the road not taken” and not “the road taken”, needless to mention that the persona will forever remain retrospective, wishing he took the other road, which would also have yielded the same results. Looking at the two roads it is crystal clear that that the two roads are indistinguishable, hence the narrator just made a leap of faith. However looking at the stanzas the persona indicates a central theme of fearing to make a mistake. Furthermore, choice of the color yellow, to say “two roads diverged in a yellow wood”, presents an element of cowardice on the part of the persona. In a nutshell fear to choose, and choose wrong are the issues that main score the poem structure.  The poem looks to mock the fear of regret behind our choice of action.



Works Cited

Frost, Robert. “The figure a poem makes.” The Robert Frost Reader: Poetry and Prose (1939): 439-42.


Frost, Robert. The road not taken. Shamrock Press, 1916.


Kates, Robert W. “The human environment: the road not taken, the road still beckoning.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 77.4 (1987): 525-534.


Reaske, Christopher Russell. How to analyze poetry. Arco, 1966.


Spear-Swerling, Louise, and Robert J. Sternberg. “The road not taken: An integrative theoretical model of reading disability.” Journal of learning disabilities 27.2 (1994): 91-103.