One of Frosts commonest subjects is the choice the poet is faced with two roads, two ideas, two possibilities of action. The Road Not Taken deals with the choice between two roads, and with the results of the choice which the poet makes. It raises the evident question of whether it is better to choose a road in which many travel, or to choose the road less traveled and explore it yourself. In The Road Not Taken, the speakers tone and setting help illustrate the struggle a person goes through in their lives to pick the right road to travel.
It is possible to read this poem as a statement of some self-pity on the oets part, a feeling, perhaps, that he has been cheated and misunderstood because he took an unpopular path. To support this tone, one might point to the last stanza: The speaker will some day, sighing, tell others that he took the unknown road when faced with a choice. The reading, however, misses much of the significance of the second and third stanzas. At the end of the second, the speaker states that there was really not much difference in the two roads; neither had really been worn by traffic, though one had been given more wear than the other.
It becomes obvious that the speakers tone begins to change. It becomes a little more confident, not much, but definitely less confused and scared than he was earlier. The first glimpse of this change in tone is in the eighth verse where he says, because is [the second road] was grassy and wanted wear. It also shows that the speaker may not want to be like everybody else, a follower, but instead, chose a different road and be himself, a leader. This verse also says that the road wanted wear, like he was drawn to the path, not just out of his own desire to be different, but maybe out f some pity.
That pity being that the road is traveled less not because it is not appealing, but that people are too afraid to be different. Verse 12 is interesting when the speaker says that, In leaves no step had trodden black, which the reader could interpret meaning that few people who did choose to take the road less traveled did not come across any difficulties or obstacles. He then goes on to say that, Oh, I kept the first for another day, as to say that it took him a long time to make his decision. Actually, it may have been onths or even years before the speaker chose a road.
He knew that the decision he made would determine the outcome of his life, and that he would have to be devoted to the road he chose. Once he made this decision, he would probably never be able to turn back. In the third stanza, he says that both roads lay in leaves that no one had trampled down. In other words, both roads were in about the same condition; it is what the man does with his choice that makes the difference. The tone of the last stanza, then, is simply matter-of-fact rather than self-pitying. One annot know, when he makes a choice, what the results of his decision will be.
Rather than being sorry that he took the untravelled road, the poet seems to be saying that he would probably do the same thing again. The speakers tone seemed to have changed with confidence. This confidence, shown in verse eighteen, when the speaker repeats the first verse, except he leaves out the word yellow. Purposely leaving out the word yellow is an example of imagery. In the first stanza, yellow meant the color of the trees and foliage, and in the third stanza, they are no longer yellow. Also in the third stanza he says, I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence.
This isnt stated in a negative way, just as a way to portray the fact that he chose the right road. The sigh was to show that the road had not been easy. The setting in The Road Not Taken, is very important. In the first verse of the first stanza, Frost says, Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, which is seemingly a very important part of the poem. This line is a metaphor in which Frost uses woods to represent life. Using this as an image helps to ave a better understanding of the complexity of the problem that the speaker is facing.
If someone was standing at the edge of some woods you would not be able to clearly see what was ahead of you, because it would be obstructed by trees and branches. Life is like those woods because no one can clearly see or predict what will happen in the future, only hope to choose a path that will lead you to good fortune and happiness. Another interesting part of the first verse is how he describes the woods. It describes the uncertainty of the speaker, and implies that he may be scared to even choose a path.
Evidently he does not want to decide upon the wrong road and mess up his life. The reader can determine that as he stands before these two roads he is very confused and even frightened as in which road to pick. All he can do is look as far down each road as possible, and hope that he decides upon the right one. This is exactly what he does when he looks down the first road, at the end of the first stanza. The second stanza starts off with the speaker talking about the other path, and how it looked just as hard, just as long, and just as fair on this path as he did the first.
Meaning that he took exactly every step analyzing this road as he did the other. The speaker ends the poem by stating that he chose the untravelled road, and that this choice has had a great significance in his life. After reading The Road Not Taken, the reader can determine two literary elements, tone and setting. This poem supplies the reader with a situation that each person has to face at least one situation in their lives. That situation being that everyone has to struggle to try and put their life on the right road. The road which leads them to what they believe to be happiness.