Anytime I read this poem, it really inspired me. Sometimes in life one may be doing a particular thing not approved or acceptable by popular opinion, yet one may succeed at it. To me that is a good example of what Robert Frost was trying to epitomized in his poem_ The Road Not Taken. Great poem indeed!
Love the poem, had never thought so much about it before reading your comments though, thank you. Previously I took the easy/ popular road to its interpretation (the road less traveled is positive) without really thinking. Thanks for your comments the variety has awakened a greater appreciation. On only the words we see, not those implied, popularized for selfish speaking points or assumed, we cannot attribute value to either choice. The less popular road could be less popular because it was unsafe and so the normal traffic having learned such choose to take the other, and yet had worn them about the same. Its not about which road as whichever road was taken by the subject, or whichever road we take - that one will certainly make all the difference.
The author is pointing to the fact that you have to make choices in life, and that where you find your destination is due to the choices that you make earlier. Taking a route that was not so popular appealed to him, though he thought that there would not be much difference in the potential experience of each route Sometimes you may be able to have a second chance and choose a different route for your life that you missed first time -Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back..
He has the thought that either route would be significant, as he imagines himself in a position where he is telling others of his experience.
Frost is saying the speaker will tell other, probably younger, inexperienced people when he's an old, wise man, that he took the less traveled road and that made all the difference in his life, knowing full well that the roads were equally traveled and therefore, he's just giving, for its effect, a big line of BS to his young listeners. In a way, he's making fun of self-proclaimed experience-wisened old farts and also of the misconception that you can know the outcome of taking a road you know nothing about and you have to convince yourself that the one you took was harder and produced a better outcome. This poem is difficult, possibly because it deals with how we BS ourselves and others, too. I have written much poetry, but my next one, I'm sure now, is going to be about BS.
@ Stephen W If you read Roger's comment below from (6/7/2015 2: 01: 00 PM) I feel he does attack Frost somewhat, for contradictions that don't actually occur in the text. This is probably the comment I should have replied to, because the comment above is interesting. But I'm still not convinced that this is THE point of the poem. I have read carefully enough and your comments are lazy.
Roger Roth, I don't think the poem is about BS (which isn't to say you're wrong) but it's a very interesting interpretation. As for him saying both roads 'were equal and equally traveled', I think you're not taking due care with the language. With time and footfall (many, many years) , two roads have emerged in the wood that are about the same - they are both established and both probably older than the author - but they are not the same. There are two roads. They are both covered in leaves and it looks as though neither has been used in the past day or so because the leaves are undisturbed - the narrator has no obvious footsteps to follow or, as the case may be, not to follow. The choice is his, and his alone. However, one of the roads is grassy and in want of wear - of the two roads, one of them is used less than the other. We can ascertain that the narrator is a young man because he alludes to being old in the future. Even the there are no easily discerned differences in the roads, he seeks the path that is less traveled. He is young, perceptive, adventurous, contrary, thoughtful and free-spirited. This is what his actions signify to me.
As for the road less traveled 'providing a better outcome' - there is little in the poem to suggest this. The narrator proclaims that it has made all the difference and that is all.
I could probably write more about the poem, but just wanted to share a few thoughts. I find it difficult to see you attack Frost for things that he didn't say, or because you've rushed and stumbled over the words. A carpenter measures, then measures again. A reader of poetry should read, then read again, then read again, then read again...
I've done a lot of thinking about this poem. The last stanza is key. The speaker anticipating in the end that he'll probably lie to himself and say he took the tougher of the two roads and his courage paid off. Or, that the road he took was, unbeknown to him, tougher, he prevailed, and things worked out. Bottom line, if you take one of two roads, you have no way of knowing what taking the other might have meant to you.
Readers who think this is about choosing the less traveled road as a badge of courage are misunderstanding this poem. It's not that simple and Frost even called it tricky. Personally, I don't know how an average person who is not in the throes of their life's retrospect in the face of mortality can really understand what Frost is saying.
I don't get it. Frost's roads are equal and equally traveled, yet in the end, he says he took the one less traveled. Then he says that has made all the difference. This may be true, but how is one to know how things would turn out had you taken the other road? Of course, a different road is going to get you to a different place, but he's implying, isn't he, that the second road got him to a better place. How can he know that, unless his point is about acceptance? The other thing that troubles me is his failure to acknowledge a third road, which is that all important detour many people have successfully taken in their lives. Maybe I'm too literal.
The poem: 'The Road not taken' is a beautiful poem; it talks about the choices we can make in life.
We, sometimes, can be in doubt when we face some situations in which we should take a decision that can change our lives. This happens because we cannot know for sure what it will happen in the future, and we fear the possible consequences.
This poem helped me too much, and now I took a decision that changed my life: I asked the love of my live in marriage, and now I am so happy.