How do you justify that the road is a metaphor in the poem "The Road Not Taken"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert Frost denied that his poem "The Road Not Taken" had the deep, existential meaning that many have wished to give it, insisting that he had written his verse in order to "fool his way around" in a teasing reflection on his friend Edward Thomas, with whom he took walks frequently. On such strolls, Thomas would castigate himself for not having selected another path no matter which way they went. And, yet, despite Thomas's own characterization of the poem, "The Road Not Taken" as "the fun of the thing," it became very popular as a poem of deep meaning. 

Interestingly, Frost himself contributed to the idea that there can, indeed, be a deeper significance clothed in metaphor in his poem as he wrote in one of his notebooks,

Nothing ever so sincere
That unless it's out of sheer
Mischief and a little queer [odd]
It won't prove a bore to hear.

So, the concept of "many a word of truth is spoken in jest" may, indeed, exist in Frost's poem about two roads. Alluding to these thoughts of Frost's own, the reader can, then, reasonably interpret the ambivalence in choice of paths that the persona of "The Road Not Taken" experiences as a metaphor for the indecisiveness of man that often proves tragic or, in the very least, disconcerting. And, of course, the "road" can be perceived as the "road" of life; that is, the many choices, or paths of action in a person's life.

joshyvijay | Student

In the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost the road is indeed a metaphor for the course of our life. Throughout our life we are at cross roads, where we need to take a decision which way to steer our life. people often chooses the familiar path even if it is less rewarding as we are afraid of facing challenges ahead ofus.

As we can see in history there are few courageous people who chooses the "road not taken" and in the process cleared way for others to follow. We call them great leaders, poets, writers ....etc. Had they not chose the road not taken they also would have been like any other mortal.