Robert Frost's “The Road Not Taken” presents a speaker who is forced to make a decision that he cannot really make—at least not with confidence.
Psychological criticism looks at literature by attempting to analyze it in terms of how the mind works. Often this is done with respect to the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud or Carl Jung. One of the most important aspects of Freud's theory was the importance of the subconscious and its effects on the behavior and development of the individual.
In “The Road Not Taken,” Frost uses the symbol (symbols are another key element of psychological analysis and development) of two diverging roads to look at the speaker's subconscious.
As the speaker looks at the roads, trying to decide which to take, he says,
. . . long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth.
Difficult choices are common, and by themselves they are not always the subject of intense psychological study. At this point in the poem, the...
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