The Road not taken

The Road Not Taken Summary & Analysis | The Road Not Taken Poem Analysis

The Road Not Taken: Robert Frost
The Road Not Taken: Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken Poem

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,
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.

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 poem “The Road Not Taken” is about the choices one has to make in life. It was written by a great American poet ‘Robert Frost’. It was first published in August 1915 in “The Atlantic” and later published as the first poem in the collection “Mountain Interval” of 1916.

Robert Frost wrote this poem to highlight a trait and poke fun at his friend ‘Edward Thomas’ an English Welsh poet, who when out walking with Frost in England would often regret not having taken a different path. One day walking in a forest, the poet also arrived at a place where the road diverged into two. So he had to decide which road he should take. The poet was in a dilemma now. However, he decided to take the second path and thought of travelling the first some other day in the future.

About Poet

The poet of this poem was a great American poet ‘Robert Lee Frost’ who was also the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. His poems were first published in England before they were published in America. Frost is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life. He is great at sharing the beauty of the world around him through his Poetry. He writes simply, but insightfully, about common and ordinary experiences. His best-known poems include “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”


The main theme of this poem is that Life is full of Choices that will define our destinies. The speaker spends a while deliberating when he comes to a fork in the road, which symbolizes a choice he must make in his life. The choices that he made ” has made all the difference” in his life.

Structure of The Poem

Robert Frost uses an interesting style in ‘The Road Not Taken.’ He has penned the poem in the first person point of view. So, it is a lyrical poem. The poem has a total of 20 lines divided into 4 stanzas. Each stanza has 5 lines. Each stanza of the poem follows a specific rhyme scheme ABAAB. Each line has 9 syllables so, the overall poem is composed of iambic tetrameter.


It seems that the notion of regret is seen, in the title ‘The Road Not Taken’ rather than The Road Taken. Although the speaker has made his choice, he can’t stop thinking about the road he left behind. Thus, we can infer that Frost calls the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ because he is thinking about the choice he didn’t make.

Poem Explanation

The poem starts with the poet, who is walking down a road, and then there is a diversion, there are two different paths and he has to choose one out of there. Two yellow wood means a forest with leaves that are wearing out and have turned yellow in colour – the season of autumn. The poet kept standing there and looked at the path very carefully as far as he could see it. Before taking the path, he wanted to know how it was. Was it suitable for him or not?

It also happens in our lives when we have choices and alternatives, but we have to choose only one out of them. We take time to think about the pros and cons, whether it is suitable for us or not, and only then, do we take a decision on what path we should choose.

In the second stanza, the poet says he kept on looking at one path for a long time to check if it was the right path for him or not, and then he decided and start walking on another path because he felt that both paths were equally good. He felt maybe this path was better for him so he choose it as it had grass on it which meant that it was unused. Not many people had walked on this path earlier which is why this path was grassy.

After he walked on the path for some distance, he realized that both paths were similar and worn out. Even in our lives, we take any path or option but all of them have the same benefits, disadvantages, problems, and challenges, and we must face them. We think that we are choosing a better option but it is not that way.

In the third stanza, the poet says that the paths were similar that morning. Both had leaves on them and no one had stepped on them as they were still green in colour. He decided that day he would take one path and keep the other for another day. Although he knew that he could not go back on the choice that he had made. Similarly, even in our life once we choose an option we must keep on moving ahead with that option and we never get a chance to come back and take the other option we had left earlier.

In the last stanza, the poet talks about the future. He says that once upon a time, he had reached such a point in life that there were two options for him and he travelled on that road which had been travelled by a lesser number of people. That decision of his decided his future.


Thus the poem “The Road Not Taken” is about the journey of our life. We never know where life will take us, preplanning what the end of the road looks like for ourselves, and building regret is silly. Life is about the paths we do choose to walk through, not about “The Road Not Taken.” The poem also gives a very strong message for all the students that every student should be wise and careful while making choices out of the options that they have in their life because their future depends on the choices that they make today.

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