The main theme of “The Road Not Taken” is that we want to believe that our choices are unique or brave and that they make a major impact on the course our lives take, though neither is really true.
The speaker indicates, in many ways, that the two roads with which he is confronted have been traveled about an equal number of times: in short, there is no “road less traveled.” He describes the roads as being somewhat different in aesthetics and appearance, but he notes that “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same” (lines 9–10). In other words, the roads have been worn down “about the same” amount by the feet of those people who have chosen and traveled them.
Moreover, he says that both “equally lay / In leaves no step had trodden black” (12). So, no one appears to have traveled either road that morning, because their shoes would have left dirt or mud on the leaves that had fallen. For these reasons, we can surmise that the roads have been traveled approximately an equal number of times by an equal number of people.
Therefore, when the speaker says that he will tell this story “Somewhere ages and ages hence,” he admits that he will be saying something that is not true when he says that he “took the [road] less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference” (19–20).
Why would he lie? Perhaps because he wants to believe that this is true, that he was unique or individual and that his choice made a big difference in his life’s path. Perhaps because he knows that this is what his audience—maybe future children or grandchildren—will want to hear. Perhaps because he knows that human beings have a tendency to tell stories in such a way that it makes them look better or stronger than they really are. Regardless of the rationale, his story will be just that: a story.