What did the poet wish to do in the future in "The Road Not Taken"?

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The poet wishes to explore or walk the other path in the future. Despite his best intentions, however, he admits that he probably won't return to realize his inclination. In the poem, the poet confesses that he regretted not being able to take both paths. He relates how he took a long time to choose his path.

In the end, he took the path less traveled, the path that was grassy and "wanted wear." However, as he continued to ponder his choice, he came to the conclusion that both paths were similarly worn in nature. Neither was more worn than the other. In fact, the poet maintains that both paths had leaves that no human steps had yet trodden "black." After thinking at length, he reluctantly decides that he will leave the first path for another day. All in all, he philosophizes that there's little chance he'll be back to fulfill this particular goal.

The last stanza is interesting and can be interpreted in one of two ways. The poet tells us that he took the road less traveled, and that his choice made all the difference. However, he also admits that he will be telling his story with a sigh for a long time. The first interpretation could center on the poet's regret for his decision. Perhaps the path he took led to some ostensibly negative consequences.

However, another interpretation could center on the fact that his chosen path led to some unexpected consequences. Perhaps they were simultaneously positive and negative in nature. In other words, his choice led to results he both liked and disliked (thus, the sigh). Because he didn't travel the first path, he will forever wonder about its possibilities.

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This reference comes in the third stanza, with the lines:

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

The narrator had already chosen one of the two paths, “the one less traveled by.” Now he says at first that he could always come back and follow the other path on some other day in the future. But just as quickly, he understands how life works. He knows that even though he can have the best of intentions to someday return to the point where the two routes divide, the reality is that he probably won’t come back. Another “future” scene appears in the final stanza, when the narrator says that from this moment on, he will be explaining to people how and why he made the decision he did. Will he then be happy about his past choice? This is the question we debate.

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