The Road Not Taken
In this dramatic poem, Frost employs irregular meter, which adds tension, with nine syllables per line in these four rhymed stanzas. In the first three stanzas the speaker makes a choice between two paths in the woods, symbolic of a decision to which the reader is not privy. The poem contains ambiguity about the similarities of the paths: one "was grassy and wanted wear; / Though as for that, the passing there / Had worn them really about the same." Frost has said that the poem refers to a friend of his, Edward Thomas, who used to return from walks in the woods regretting paths he had not taken and flowers he might have seen on those paths. In the fourth stanza, the "sigh" is also ambiguous. Is it a sigh of relief, a sigh of regret, or, as some scholars have noted, a sigh of regret that both choices were not possible? Frost may also employ a mocking tone when the speaker praises a whimsical choice, a choice based on insufficient evidence.
What do you think of the symbol employed in this poem? What does the following line mean: "Oh, I kept the first for another day!"? One theme may be that any decision limits future choices. Is that true? If so, how so? How does the title of the poem shed light on the poem's meaning?