The Road Not Taken Message
What is the message of the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost?
In "The Road Not Taken," the message of the poem is about life's choices. The speaker is confronted with two roads. He debates his choices. He tries to figure out which road to take. He finally decides to take the road less traveled by and declares that it has made all the difference.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Clearly, the speaker feels he has made the right choice. Of course, this comes at the end of the poem after much deliberation. "Long [he] stood" trying to decide which road to take:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
The speaker feels a sense of regret that he cannot travel both roads. Life is about choices. The speaker is torn between the two roads. He finally takes the road less traveled by and feels that he has made the right choice. Still, he imagines that he shall be telling his story ages from now with a sigh:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Life is difficult. Choices are hard at times. By and by, the speaker makes a choice. He takes the road less traveled by. He chooses not to conform. He chooses to be a unique individual. He does not follow the crowd. In the end, he makes a choice that he feels has made all the difference. Although he is sad that he could not take both roads, he feels that he made the right choice ultimately.
"The Road Not Taken" can be interpreted in various ways; we don't know exactly which message Frost may have intended as the "correct" interpretation. Scenarios within the poem present several possible ways to find meaning in the poem.
The speaker in the poem is faced with deciding which of the roads that "diverged in a yellow wood" will be followed. This could indicate that some message about making decisions is forthcoming. Consideration is important - the speaker spends significant time debating the choice.
After studying both paths, the speaker chooses to follow the road that appears to have been used less often - "it was grassy and wanted wear." Frost may be advocating for the individualist with this decision, encouraging readers to not fear following their own paths regardless of what is done by the majority.
The speaker hopes to return and travel the other road at some point in the future, but concedes this is not likely - "I doubt if I should ever come back." The speaker anticipates that, in the future, the choice of which road to follow will make "all the difference". While there seems to be a comfortable acceptance of the choice that has been made, but there is a hint of regret or curiosity about what would have happened if s/he had followed "The Road Not Taken."