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How does the speaker resolve his conflicts in "The Road Not Taken"?

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acepreston | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM via web

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How does the speaker resolve his conflicts in "The Road Not Taken"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2012 at 2:38 AM (Answer #1)

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Frost's somewhat ambiguous poem, "The Road Not Taken" has long been a source of debate as there are those critics who perceive the poem as an affirmation of the importance of making choices in life while others interpret the poem as a subtle satire on the personality that struggles to make decisions because of the propensity to dwell on the irrevocability of choices. At any rate, the conflict that arises in the speaker is in his remembrance of a road--metaphoric or real--that he did not select, and he rues his choice.

It does not appear from the tone of the last stanza that the speaker has resolved his conflict. For, he states in retrospect that his choice of "the one less traveled by" has "made all the difference."

Earlier in the poem, the speaker indicates his very incapability of making a decision:

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, at the end he affirms his inability to live by it as he laments the irreversibility of his choice, indicating that he still is incapable of committing himself to a decision.

 

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