Figurative Language In The Road Not Taken

What is an example of figurative language from the poem "The Road Not Taken?"

(simile, metaphor, personification, or hyperbole)

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This poem is an example of an extended metaphor.

A metaphor is a comparison between two things that are not alike. In this case, a road and life are being compared. In this extended metaphor, the speaker never actually makes a direct comparison between life and the road.  In other words, he does not say life is a road.  Yet the entire poem implies it.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Although there is some argument about the interpretation of this last line, one can argue either way that it is about life.  Frost may be arguing that we should go our own way, or he may be arguing that it does not matter where we go.  Either way, the concept of road as a metaphor for life continues.

In life, as in roads, you have to make decisions.  The traveler came to a fork in the road, as we face choices in life, and once he chose he knew he could never go back.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

In the end, the speaker realizes, once he makes his choice he will have to stick with it.  Choice made, he goes on with his life.  Life is a path, and there is a never-ending amount of decisions that need to be made.