Note the off beat, weak, fading metre of the last line. The first stress is on that and the line fades to the next stress on all and again fades to dif. And notice also the onomatopoeic effect of difference like the sound of air gently escaping from a floating balloon. It's a poem about bombast, bluster, beauty and opportunity squandered, , fumbling, poorly constructed decisions and, at the end, sinking and failure - not by a long shot, not about triumph and success. America, the great man is pulling your leg.
The two paths are equally wore in the beginning but at some point people turn back as difficulty arise or the second guess themselves which is related to this: and both that mourning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden back
Oh, I kept the first for another day
Yet knowing how way leads to way
I doubted if I should ever come back
At this point he had made his choice and chose to keep the path, although it was harder, I shall be telling this with a sigh. It was only years later that all though harde that choice made all the difference in his life, and it made all the difference.
Modern trend of confusion is dominant in the poem, but not the hesitation like Hamlet. Life is complex and choosing best way is toughest job, no doubt. Still I have to select one and set reasons in favour of my choice to make a difference of my own. M Mostaqul Haque, Bangladesh
The Road Not Taken
I have an acquaintance – a PhD in English literature who had a class in college that R Frost attended as guest of honor and lecturer
Someone in the class asked Frost what he meant by saying:
I, I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Before that statement at end of poem Frost had said essentially that te roads were equaly worn – sat least implies that with these lines:
“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”
“I, I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There seems to be a conflict or ambiguity as to whether one road was less worn
The words highlighted if read show et ambiguity on that point:
The other (road) just as fair
Yet one road wanted wear
Yet the passing wore them about the same
A student asked Frost what he meant by sayiying that taking te road he took (te road less travelled by) made all et difference in his life after that point
Frost said that he intended to relate that it was the speaker’s decision to take the less traveled road that had made him a success. The purpose to display human arrogance that we all share in thinking that we are masters of our fate and that it was ‘I’ that made choices that made all the difference
I interpret this as a conflict on what choices you have in life. Once you choose your path, but you wish to come back and see what the other choice could have led to, but life keeps you busy and distracted, events occur and you do not make it back. When you are older you look back and see that if you had chosen the other road, your life would have been much different. Reminds me of the old saying, if I knew then, what I know now, But it can also mean you see that you made the right choices and have no regrets.
Strange the title when it is not what the poem is about. Or is it? The 'sigh' is an expression of regret I think about the road not taken: the choice of one road implies the renunciation of the other - and all its mystery and magic. Was all the difference good or bad? What unspeakable, unimagined and unimaginable destiny our choices portend! So allow an old man his boast: I lived decisively and acted as only the brave can act, trusting sometimes only to gut instinct; I accept the consequences and live steadfast and true. But the old man keeps his sense of irony. TS and Stephen W are right too - probably more right than I am, although I don't accept that the boast is an outright lie. We humans are morally ambivalent - a condition which forms the bedrock of irony.
This is perhaps the most beautiful poem I've read about freewill and our ability to choose our destiny, path, or way in life. Another message he attempts to show us through this poem is the irrevocability of our decisions and choices.