What do the poetic devices used in "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost add to your understanding of its meaning?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost combines traditional poetic form with colloquial diction. The main elements of the poem's poetic form are use of iambic tetrameter with frequent inversions and anapestic substitutions and its rhyme scheme and stanzaic form.

The poem is divided into four five-line stanzas rhymed ABAAB. Most lines are end-stopped rather than enjambed and use monosyllabic rhyme words. The stanzaic structure helps guide the reader through the poem, creating clear distinctions between the changes in the narrator's focus. The first stanza tells of the narrator being confronted by a choice between two roads, the second of the narrator choosing the one less traveled, the third reflects back on the narrator's choice, and the final stanza tells of the consequences of the choice. 

The use of conversational diction and frequent rhythmical variations enhances the universality of the poem. Rather than this being a narrator claiming some special or exceptional sensibility, we get a sense of an ordinary person going out for an ordinary walk, suggesting that the poem has meaning for all our lives, not just those of people with unique poetic sensibilities. 

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