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The Road Not Taken - Poetry Explication

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Nico Aquino

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of The Road Not Taken - Poetry Explication

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost
Nico Aquino's Poetry Explication of
The Road Not Taken
Form: Lyrical poem that expresses a state of mind
The poem consists of 20 verses that are separated into 4 stanzas
Rhyme scheme for each stanza: ABAAB
Rhyme scheme for entire poem:
ABAAB CDCCD EFEEF GHGGH
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took 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
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
by Robert Frost
The Large Issues
"The Road Not Taken" dramatizes the conflict of making decisions in life and regretting them.
Speaker: traveler who is traveling through a forest during autumn.
While traveling, the speaker stumbles across a forked road where he explains that not all choices in life will go the way one may went them to go.
Upon encountering the forked road, the speaker immediately becomes distraught by the fact that he could not travel down both roads: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood/ And sorry I could not travel both" (1,2).
The Large Issues
The speaker looks down one road and is unable to see where it leads. That is the equivalent to examining a given situation and not knowing the outcome of a choice.
The speaker is filled with regret and wonders if he could the decision once more “I doubted if I should ever come back/ I shall be telling this with a sigh/ Somewhere ages and ages hence” (15, 16, 17).
He chose to take the second road, though he left it unexamined.
The speaker realizes he has made the wrong decision, but he tries to convince himself that he has not
Second road is just as fair, the better claim and about the same as the first (6 ,7, 10)
The Large Issues
Finally the speaker concludes the poem by saying that he has taken road less traveled by, and that it has made all difference (19, 20).
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
Through the final two verses, the speaker seems to say that he has taken the road which has greatly impacted his life, presumably in a negative way
The Details
Stanza 1
Speaker, setting, and the conflict are immediately introduced
"Two roads diverged" - instantly reveals that the speaker must make a decision, one road or the other
"Yellow wood" - describes the setting; forest filled with yellow (autumn)
“And sorry I could not travel both/ And be one traveler, long I stood” - reveals speaker's emotions towards the situation: wants both, but to do so, he must become two people
“And looked down one as far as I could/ To where it bent in the undergrowth” - another problem; inability to determine where one road leads due to the dense growth of plants
Patterns
Stanza 1
Rhyming scheme:
"wood, stood, could"
"both, undergrowth"
Each verse has 9 syllables each
The Details
Stanza 2
Speaker makes decision; chose the second
Observes the road "just as fair" as the first road
Speaker studies the road where he seems to doubt his choice. With the doubt, he finds ways to persuade himself that he has made the right choice
“And having perhaps the better claim/ Because it was grassy and wanted wear” - speaker argues that the second road is better due to it seeming untouched
However, in the next two verses, the speaker comes to a realization that both the first and the second road are more of less the same, that "morning equally lay" on both.
Patterns
Stanza 2
Rhyming words:
"fair, wear, there"
"claim, same"
Unlike the first stanza, the verses of the second stanza have a variation in the number of syllables each one has
The Details
Stanza 3
Speaker continues to compare the first and the second road
“In leaves no step had trodden black” - describes how the second road has had no one walk on it due to the fact that the leaves seem in good shape
"Oh, I kept the first for another day" - explains the desire to return and take the first path
“Yet knowing how way leads on to way" - even with his desire, he knows he will be faced with more and more decisions in life where he cannot return to such a point
"I doubted if I should ever come back" - the speaker is stuck with his decision and is filled with doubt
Patterns
Stanza 3
Rhyme words:
"lay, day, way"
"black, back"
Verse vary in number of syllables
The Details
Stanza 4
Speaker reflects on decision
“I shall be telling this with a sigh” - reveals speaker`s attitude towards the decision
Especially "with a sigh" - indicates speaker is unsatisfied
Can imagine a person sighing
In the following verse, the speaker says that his decision and the effects of it will live on for a long time, hence the “ages and ages.”
To conclude to the poem, the final verses retell the events of the poem in a simplified manner
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-/ I took the one less traveled by”
"I - I took" indicates stuttering or pausing for a brief moment which shows uncertainty in choosing the less traveled road
Patterns
Stanza 4
Rhyme words:
"sigh, I, by"
"hence, difference"
Variation in number of syllables in each verse
Conclusion
The poem ends with a statement that perfectly wraps up the events of the poem: “And that has made all the difference.”
In this line, the speaker says that choosing the less traveled road has changed his life. In conjunction with other points that were stated earlier, one can assume that the speaker’s life has been changed in a negative way.
Consequently, the speaker is filled with regret for not choosing the first road
Ending with such a verse emphasizes the conflict of making decisions in life, where not all decisions will go the way one may want them to go.
Questions?
Full transcript