Essay, Research Paper
Choices made in “The Road Not Taken”
In ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost, the speaker has to make a difficult decision about choosing one of two equally promising roads to travel on. This poem is easy for people to identify with because people all have to make difficult decisions in their lives. I admire the poem because it shows this dilemma really well. But in the end of the poem the speaker changes his tone and seems to regret the choice he made after all. I don’t like this tone of the poem because the speaker is being dishonest with himself as he talks about how he made the wrong choice and how that has changed the rest of his life.
The poem begins simple enough, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” as the speaker sees two roads before him and obviously he can’t travel both. He tries to consider the consequences as he “looked down one as far as I could”. But each road “bent in the undergrowth” as where each road lead to is not obvious. It’s unclear to him what the consequences would be if he chooses either road.
The second stanza shows the difficulty of making choices. The speaker tries to distinguish one road from another as he describes one road as “having perhaps the better claim”. Here he tries to make an excuse for choosing this road over the other – “because it was grassy and wanted wear.” But in line 10 he confesses that both roads are, in fact, not different at all – “as for that passing there had worn them really about the same”.
In the third stanza the speaker realizes he has to make a decision soon as he can’t just stand there forever. But he still can not decide which one of the roads to travel on. “Oh, I kept the first for another day!” the speaker hopes he has more time to decide. And his reason for this indecision is that “knowing how way lead on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” He knows that once he made a decision there’s no turning back.
I like the poem to this point because it really shows the dilemma of making a difficult decision in life. People all make choices that they don’t know what the consequences would be. But sooner or later they have to make a decision. The poem shows this dilemma really well. It’s sad and true that once people make a decision there won’t be a second chance. I also admire this poem because all people can identify with this. But the last stanza of the poem is the part I don’t particular like at all.
It appears that the last stanza is written long after the speaker made his decision. He looks back and regrets his decision “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence.” And he again makes an excuse why he chose this particular road as he “took the one less traveled by” even though in line he admits that both roads are really the same. The last line “and that has made all the difference” is really disturbing because he seems to blame all the mishaps in his life on this decision. But the truth is that even if he had chosen the other road, he would still be saying the same thing. He would still look back and blame everything on this decision. Therefore there’s this unanswerable question: How do you know which one of the roads to choose? The first two lines of this stanza even shows that the speaker would still be sighing for “ages and ages” instead of doing something to turn his life around.
All people make mistakes, but we must move on and learn from them so we won’t make the same mistakes again. The speaker thinks that if only he can go back in time and took the other road, everything will change for the better in his life, when in fact at the time he made his decision both roads seem equally promising and consequences of choosing either road are not clear to him at all. Even the title ‘The Road Not Taken’ refers to the choice he didn’t make. The speaker is likely to be a person that’s irresponsible for his actions. Instead of admitting to himself that he has made a mistake, he makes excuses like “I took the one less traveled by.” He’s not being honest with himself. This is the reason that I do not like this poem much. People can’t just look back at all their mistakes and keep sighing the rest of their lives.