What do the two roads symbolize in "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost?

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The two roads represent two different paths through life. At different points in our lives, we face different choices. Some are more conventional choices, and some are more daring.

For example, writer and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was already in trouble in Nazi Germany for resisting attempts of the Nazis to redefine the Christian faith, arrived in New York in June, 1939, sponsored by friends who wanted to get him out of harm's way. The conventional path would have been to stay put, but a strong inner voice told he must go back to Germany and face that darkness, so he did. Like the speaker in Frost poem's, he took the road less travelled and never regretted the choice, even though he ended up imprisoned and killed.

Frost's traveller does have to choose which way to go. After studying his options, he picks the less travelled road—the one more overgrown with grass. He says the two paths were not that different but also that he never regretted taking the one he did. This choice suggests it can be rewarding to take even a slightly less conventional path in life.

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"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost follows a long tradition of poems and speeches based on the idea of "two roads." The classical model with which Frost was probably acquainted was a speech by Prodicus (reported by Plato) known as the "Choice of Heracles" describing a smooth easy path sloping downwards gently to vice contrasted with a long, steep, rougher upward path leading to virtue. Although in Frost's poem the roads do not differ so dramatically, there is still a sense that the rougher and less traveled road is somehow preferable.

The two roads generally symbolize life choices. Any time we make a choice in life, we are excluding other choices. If, for example, you choose to go to one college, this means not going to another college, and if you choose one major, it means not choosing another major. In commenting that he is not likely to return to the specific fork in the road, Frost is suggesting that although we may be capable of revisiting our choices, we often do not.

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