At the beginning of "The Road Not Taken", the speaker is faced with a dilemma. What is it? How does he react to it?Symbolism is the use of a concrete image (for example, dark clouds) to represent...

At the beginning of "The Road Not Taken", the speaker is faced with a dilemma. What is it? How does he react to it?

Symbolism is the use of a concrete image (for example, dark clouds) to represent an abstract idea (for example, troubles). Answer the following question and relate to the symbolic meaning of the fork and the two paths in the woods.

At the beginning of the poem, the speaker is faced with a dilemma. What is it? How does he react to it?

 

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The narrator in the poem, literally, is faced with the decision of which road to follow as he travels through a wooded area. The speaker can see down both roads for a short distance, but then the "yellow woods" obscure his view so that s/he can't tell where either road continues. This means the speaker has to make a decision, a choice of which road to travel in order to continue his/her journey.

Symbolically, the road is the path through life being followed by the speaker. The "two roads" represent a decision point in life; the speaker needs to make a choice regarding how to proceed. The possibilities are considered.

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,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

After assessing the possibilities of one choice, the speaker decides to follow the other path. There is not one option that is obviously better than the other (both are "just as fair"), but the speaker's choice appears to be the less common course of action among people facing the same decision ("it was grassy and wanted wear").

The speaker has to decide which way to turn at a decision point in life, and decides to follow the course of action that is less commonly adopted by others who have faced that same decision.

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