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Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

In Sound and Sense, Laurence Perrine (1982) maintains that ôA symbol may be roughly defined as something that means more than what it isö (76). The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost embodies one of the most familiar symbols of human existence û a road not taken that stands for the choices we have left unmade in life. The theme of the poem is illustrated and reinforced by FrostÆs use of symbolism, imagery, and emotion. This analysis will discuss the theme of The Road Not Taken and how it is developed in the poem.

Robert FrostÆs most well-known poem, The Road Not Taken, uses symbols in the form of two divergent paths in the woods. These paths symbolize the existential nature of human existence. Existentialists recognize the fact that human destiny is totally based on human choice and action. Each choice and action made by the individual will result in a separate, different, and necessarily limiting outcome. The outcome is necessarily limiting, because each choice we make prevents us from making to one degree or another other choices. FrostÆs poem beautifully symbolizes this dilemma. The poem begins by describing the wooded setting in front of the speaker, one that presents him with ôtwo roads divergedö (Frost 1919, 1). While initially we may feel the speaker is literally describing two roads in the woods, by the end of the poem we come to see these roads symbolize the limiting and personal nature of human choices, ôI took the one less traveled by, / And that had made all the differenceö (Frost 1919, 1).

The theme of being responsible for our destiny and life outcome based on individual choices pervades the poem. The first stanza of four explains the wooded setting, including two roads and the speakerÆs attempt to purposefully study one of them. However, Frost enables the speaker to provide us with a harbinger of emotion that tells us there is something sad about this setting and condition confronting the speak...

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Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:22, July 01, 2022, from