This poem, The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost is magnificently written, including numerous metaphors, which all center around an extended metaphor. Throughout the poem, Frost describes a wood and 2 roads, which are the extended metaphors. The author is comparing choices that must be made in life to roads in a wood. What choice one makes affects his or her life. Each choice leads one on to different obstacles and outcomes, the same way a road does. As well, the wood is a metaphor for life. There are many different choices in life, the same way there are many different paths in a wood. This is a beautiful metaphor because wood has a double meaning. While it is a metaphor for life, it also represents the difficulty in foreseeing the obstacles that one has to overcome in a lifetime. Woods are obstructed and contain many different trees, which symbolize obstacles. While looking into a wood, it is impossible to see all the different trees, the same way it is impossible to anticipate the different opportunities available in life.
One has to make a choice based on the little bit one sees. The first line, “two roads diverged into a yellow wood,” starts off the poem explaining 2 choices available to the author in life, using the extended metaphors of “roads” and “wood.” As well, the word “yellow” is symbolism for the uncertainty Frost has in making his choice. The yellow wood shows us that his life is seen as unpredictable, and he is unsure as to where these 2 choices will lead him in life. He is very confused as to his future, which will be determined by his choice, and therefore describes the woods as yellow. The author tried to look down the first road, meaning examine a choice and attempt to determine the outcomes, however has difficulty, as it says, “where it bent in the undergrowth,” which is a metaphor for his obstructed view. It is limited how much the author sees and understands as to what result will come from making choice A otherwise called the first road.
He examined the second road, and thought it would be more exciting, because he felt this was the less traveled road, and described it as “having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear.” “Grassy and wanted wear” is a metaphor. It is saying this one choice in life appeared to be less common, and therefore caught the author’s eye, as though it was inviting him to make this choice. Later on, it becomes clear that both roads were equally common because of the metaphor “Both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black.” The leaves represent opportunities in the choice. This line is saying that both of the choices had few people experience them and take advantage of the opportunities. Therefore, the two choices were equal, there was not one that was less taken. The author reuses the line “two roads diverged into a wood,” as one of the last, which is the same extended metaphor for choices in life as previously used, however has purposely left out the word “yellow.”
This is because at the beginning he was unsure about the outcomes of the choices available. Now, he is aware of them, and understands that each of the choices were almost equal. Life has become clear to him, and he is no longer uncertain, which is why he did not include the word “yellow.” To conclude, Frost’s intricate use of metaphors paint a vivid picture of a person having to make a choice, and allow us to better understand the complexity and seriousness in decision making.
The theme of this poem is that every choice makes a huge difference and can affect one’s whole life, so one must be extremely careful, and take time in their decisions, to ensure that one is completely satisfied. In this poem, the author had 2 possible choices to make. He elected to take the second path, which he thought was the better one, as said, “perhaps having the better claim because it was grassy and wanted wear.” Frost considered this choice to be the less common one, which was obviously important to him, and was thus the reason in choosing this road. However, he was slightly unsure at the time of his choice, because he used the word “perhaps.” As the author continued down his path, it became clear that he was in fact wrong, and both roads were fairly equal and comparable, because he says, “the passing there had worn them really about the same.” Frost understands that while he thought one was less taken, both were equally taken. Realizing this, he recognizes that he could have chosen the other option for it was “just as fair.” So, he vowed to himself to experience the first choice as well, saying, “oh I kept the first for another day.”
This vow is apparently impossible to fulfill because each choice requires time and is irreversible, which is clear in the line, “knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” Frost then shows regret and remorse when it has become clear that he could have chosen the other option, but will now not be able to do so, and he envisions himself telling his life story in the future, and is not satisfied with what he accomplished in life, because he says, “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence.” As well, the title of this poem is the road not taken, not the road less taken. This title selection tells us that Frost realizes that there was no road less taken, and regrets not experiencing the other choice. He is unhappy with the unknown. Therefore we learn that we must be careful in choosing our decisions, so that we are satisfied and content with the person we have become, realizing that the decisions we made were 100% not “perhaps” the better option.