Does the poem "The Road Not Taken" directly reveal any emotions or attitudes?

2 Answers | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" does, indeed, reveal directly certain emotions: regret, indecision, decision, doubt, rue.

A much-discussed poem in which Robert Frost creates an intriguing ambivalence, there is also, perhaps, the light satire of Frost's friend Edward Thomas, with whom the poet walked frequently. As they trekked along various paths, Thomas would worry that perhaps another way might be more pleasurable as it could contain more flora and fauna. This indecisive man would never be content as he walked because he was always anxious about other choices that could have made.

  • indecision, doubt

The speaker's hesitancy about which "road" to choose is indicated in the first two stanzas as he surveys the paths that diverge in a fall woods. In the second stanza, the words "and having perhaps the claim," "Because it was grassy...," and "Though as for that...."  indicate the speaker's indecision.

His doubt is also expressed in the second stanza as the speaker remarks that the two paths are both "just as fair" and worn "about the same."

  • regret, rue

Regret is demonstrated in the third stanza as the speaker is disappointed that he has not gone down the other path: "Oh, I kept the first for another day!" And, he "doubted" that he would get the opportunity to return and go down the other path. 

In the final stanza, the speaker indicates that he rues his choice of paths--"I shall be telling this with a sigh"--and this decision has had a profound effect upon his life, an effect that he wishes were different:

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

In the words of A. E. Housman, the speaker feels "With rue my heart is laden."

Sources:
ashlps's profile pic

ashlps | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Robert Frost was a very sad man and showed rawness in his poetry. He puts the decision of everyday life as a road.

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question