How does the writer convey the dilema of the narrator of standing at the crossroads and making choices in "The Road Not Taken"?

Expert Answers
missjenn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Within the first stanza, he shows a dilemma by have the narrator point out basic math. He is but ONE person and there are TWO paths. With in the poem there is now a sense of unsureness and of required agency. He cannot take both, therefore this is the initial instance of a dilemma. However, Frost is also relating this to real life, most choices do not allow us both options, it is either one way or another.

Next, in stanza two and three, he careful examines the paths respectively. By examining these paths, the narrator is hesitating, thinking, creating the pros and cons of the situation in his head.


If you are looking for specific technique terms, I would say diction. Frost uses diction to convey the dilemma by stating numbers. He quantifies the possibilities and the means to get there. Two paths, one person walking.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most compelling conveyances about the issue of choice resides in the mere setting of the poem.  The symbol of two divergent paths and the need to choose one highlights the human predicament of freedom poised with agonizing choice.  The speaker must assess what will form the basis of his choice, his action, his conception of freedom.  Throughout the poem, the speaker assesses each path's qualities.  One path might be more taken than another and may look more worn than another.  At the same time, another path has not been taken at all and this helps the speaker form the foundation upon which his choice will be made.  The idea of being able to choose between competing notions of the good and developing criteria upon which to make this choice is one way that Frost conveys the human predicament of freedom in this poem.