In your opinion, which road in Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is better and why?

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Neither is better.  They are, essentially, the same.

The speaker says that he comes to a fork in the road, and he examines one road and then the other.  When he looks at the second, he says that it is "just as fair" as the first, and he claims that "the passing there / Had worn them really about the same [...]."  In other words, then, the roads -- although they are not identical and do look somewhat different from one another -- have been traveled approximately the same number of times.  To say that they have been worn about the same amount means that there simply isn't one road that has been more or less traveled than the other.  They have been traveled equally.  In fact, on the morning on which the speaker encounters the fork, he says that the two roads "equally lay" in the leaves, and so they are really not significantly different from one another.  Therefore, when the speaker says that, when he's old, he's going to tell others than he took the road "less traveled by," he basically admits that he's planning to lie.  Everyone wants to believe that their choices are significant and that they are original and unique, but, this poem suggests that there really are no such unique choices.  They have all been made hundreds, thousands, of times before, and these decisions are really not as momentous as they seem at the time.

Thus, one road is no better than the other.

beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You are being asked to state an opinion based on reading “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. The question asks which road is the better “claim” or choice on that morning.

The traveler comes to the fork in the path, and ponders which is more desirable to take that morning. As the traveler surveys the roads, he finds they are very similar in the morning light.

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

After examining the two paths, the traveler decides on the second one. In his perception, the second path calls to him because it is “grassier” and seems to “want wear.” He “claims” the second path and says he will save the other for another day. In the traveler’s opinion, the second path is more to his liking on that particular morning. Later in life, he states his decision “made all the difference” in his life.

When critical analysis is written about this poem, it is often said choosing one path or the other is less about establishing one’s individual path in life, and more about Robert Frost’s indecisive friend. When considering this analysis, the path choice becomes less important to understanding the poem.

Read the study guide:
The Road Not Taken

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