person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost
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In the poem "The Road Not Taken," what is the theme and what techniques does Robert Frost use to communicate his theme?

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The poem is about decision making, making choices in life, about having the ability to be an individual who can determine the course that his or her life follows.

The poem consists of 4 stanzas of 5 lines each.  

"Frost composed this poem in four five-line stanzas with only two end rhymes in each stanza (abaab). The flexible iambic meter has four strong beats to the line. Of the technical achievements in “The Road Not Taken,” one in particular shows Frost's skill at enforcing meaning through form." 

Robert would often take walks in the woods with a friend and his friend would ponder the possibilities of the path that they didn't take.  This is relevant to all the choices that individuals make each and every day, some have a more significant effect on an overall life, others are simple and insignificant.

The author is forced to make a choice, he can't stand in the woods all day, but even after he has made the decision, he is not sure if he did the right thing.  So the poem also presents a dilemma that is interesting to analyze.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference. (Frost) 

Even though the traveler appears to be sure that he chose the right road, his decision is based on a road that looks like it holds more mystery, one that is less explored than the other.  Perhaps Frost is inviting the reader to engage in being curious about life and not just settle for the ordinary, but explore the mysteries of life to be fulfilled, and most especially if an individual is bored or feeling unchallenged by life, don't be afraid to travel the road less traveled and chart a new path for yourself.

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