Commentary On The Road Not Taken Essay
, Research Paper
The poem is basically about a person who has at some point in his life been posed with a question of which path to take. Obviously, there would be a dilemma on his part and the poem revolves around his decision. Frost s narrative style has lent itself to a certain amount of ambiguity in what he is trying to convey.
This ambiguity that Frost has left the reader to contemplate is basically divided into two schools of thought. The first is that Frost has a regret for the choice that he has made and he is relating the hardships of that choice to the reader. The alternative is that he is simply trying to make a statement about life and harbors no regret towards the choice that he has made.
The first theme to be considered is that of Frost s analogy of one s life being put onto some sort of timeline and he has used roads to illustrate the idea of many possibilities. The use of nature in the same line Two roads diverged in a yellow wood gives an almost organic-like appeal. This helps us to integrate roads into the natural environment and it gives an impression that the decisions that we have to make are natural. The divergence of the two roads into the same place (a yellow wood) symbolises Frost s departure into the real world (because of the singularity in wood ). This could mean that the wood is being compared to the unknown world. Again, in the first stanza there is the start of the ambiguity in the very colour of the wood. A strong believer in the view that Frost has given a regretful tone to the poem will point out that there is a significance in the very colour of the wood. This is because yellow represents autumn time where the stigma is that everything around him is dying and because of life he still has to continue. Furthermore, there is the inclusion of the second line And sorry I could not travel both . This could mean that he is regretful because he will never know what the other path offered. On the other hand it could also be interpreted that it is plain curiosity which has led him to say this, not any regret for what he has failed to do.
Frost has used a clever illustration of the continuance of these roads to depict the uncertainty that life holds. The dilemma that he is going through is shown again by the usage of the roads and how at the beginning everything looked almost the same but upon minute inspection it showed that one was slightly better. This is conveyed to us by how much the path had been stepped on. However, this brings up another controversial aspect of the poem, does the path less trodden on really mean a better future? As previously mentioned, the future is uncertain so what looks promising today may not be tomorrow. At the end of the third stanza there is a very definite appeal to it because there is no way of going back, just like time.
Though he took the path that was less taken it could also mean that he took the decision that a lesser man would not have taken. In an almost boastful behaviour he says that I took the one less traveled by . Again, the ambiguous nature of the poem occurs in the last stanza. There are many reasons that people sigh, obviously the one that comes first to our mind is that of regret. However, in a more objective way it can also be seen that people sigh out of tiredness and maybe even pride. Yet again though, in the very same stanza the tone seems to be almost slowed down by the repetition of and I-I which leads us to believe that in some way he must be regretful if not the least bit curious of the other possible circumstance.
An alternative view, though offered to us by the line Somewhere ages and ages hence: hints that maybe he is accounting this a long time after he had made the decision.Also because of the boastful nature of the last stanza where he says proudly that he took the path others wouldn t he might be telling it to an audience such as his grandchildren. Now looking back at the first stanza with this view in mind it strikes us that the setting and the type of language used could be something of a children s story.
The last line of the fourth stanza And that has made all the difference. adds a finishing touch to a poem frought with ambiguities. In fact, it leaves more of a taste of a question than of a statement in the reader s mouth. Now looking at this last line it leads us to wonder if it is an ending on a positive note. The verdict? It is likely from all the views shared that there is a possibility for there to be one, possibly even a boastful one, but in light of the fact that Frost is recollecting this memory at the end of his life he must harbour some, maybe even remote feelings of regret about this decesion.