The Road Not Taken Questions and Answers
by Robert Frost

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What was the condition of the two roads?

In "The Road Not Taken," the condition of the two roads is quite similar. Both are grassy, covered in yellow leaves, and equally traveled by other people.

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This is an important detail that contributes to the overall message of the poem. Although the speaker hopes that at the end of his life, he can look back and believe he has taken the road "less traveled by," that isn't supported by his initial descriptions.

When the speaker faces the choice in the yellow woods, he inspects his options carefully, wanting to be sure his path will lead to the "better claim." He looks down both roads as far as he can possibly see, but he finds that it's impossible to know the eventual destination because of the curves that disappear into the undergrowth.

The roads are actually quite similar. One isn't inherently more rocky or less traveled than the other. Note that in the beginning of the third stanza, he describes that they "equally lay / In leaves no step had trodden black." Both paths are covered in those yellow leaves, and they pass through the land in an equal fashion. He chooses his road but notes that the other is "just as fair" as his choice. He believes that "perhaps" his choice leads to a "better claim," but it is grassy, which doesn't exactly connote a tough journey (as you might envision if he were required to scramble over boulders or along the side of a cliff). The roads are equally worn, meaning that approximately the same number of people have traveled both roads, and he certainly isn't the first one to choose either.

Of course, he believes that at the end of his life, he will look back on this choice and take pride in taking the road that was tougher and that fewer people traveled. This becomes a central message of the poem's purpose.

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