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The opening stanza identifies the setting as woods in the winter. The speaker is aware of the owner of the woods, knowing that he will not mind if he spends a moment to watch the snow fall. The second stanza mentions that his horse must wonder about his choice of stopping on a frozen lake on such a cold, dark evening. In the third stanza, the horse shakes its harness, ringing its bells, breaking the silence; the only other sound is that of the wind and snowfall. In the final stanza, the speaker admits his love of the beauty around him but realizes he must depart because of another obligation. The final lines repeat--"and miles to go before I sleep"--suggesting both a long journey and the drowsiness of sleep.
As with many poems, Frost's classic has a deeper meaning. The dark woods seem to symbolize death, and the speaker has an attraction to it. However, the "miles to go" in a different direction symbolizes the continuation of life--a journey that the speaker must nevertheless continue, perhaps not altogether enthusiastically.
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