In The Road Not Taken, how do the figures of speech contribute to the poem's overall intentions?
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost has various possible interpretations and it becomes apparent as the poem progresses that Frost intends that the reader should use the poem to help him or her take opportunities and use them to his or her own advantage rather than worrying about the decision itself. Figures of speech (metaphor, personification and so on) are used for effect and, when considering their use in any context, the reader is not expected to take such phrases or words literally.
The narrator is overwhelmed by choice in this poem and has exaggerated when he considers the potential effects of his decision. For his choice to have made "all the difference" when the narrator has admitted that the paths appear to be "worn ...really about the same" is hyperbole (stressing the word "all"). The fact that the narrator is still dwelling on it "ages and ages hence" is also hyperbole as it suggests that the effects of this decision will be felt by several generations. Frost is trying to reveal to the reader that such obsession with choice is counter-productive.
Frost has used personification to stress how important this decision is to the narrator to the point that he (the narrator) feels the need to remove some of the blame from himself. If the road he chooses has "perhaps the better claim" then it is as if the road is personified and is making the choice for him. Again Frost is warning the reader not to place too much emphasis on the "one less traveled by" which reveals that the poem is a metaphor for life. Do not make the same mistakes that this narrator does and rather enjoy the direction that life does take.