person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

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Why does the poet feel sorry?

In “The Road Not Taken,” the speaker feels sorry that he cannot travel both roads at once when he arrives at a fork in the road. He hesitates in making a decision, knowing that he will likely never return to take the unchosen road.

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In the poem "The Road Not Taken," the poet feels sorry because he cannot travel both roads at once. He recognizes that this is not possible, that he cannot be "one traveler" taking two separate roads simultaneously. Thus, he acknowledges that he must make a decision.

In the poem "The Road Not Taken," the poet feels sorry because he cannot travel both roads at once. He recognizes that this is not possible, that he cannot be "one traveler" taking two separate roads simultaneously. Thus, he acknowledges that he must make a decision.

At first, it seems that the choice of which road to take is of some significance. The speaker acknowledges feeling “sorry” to have to choose, and he deliberates in his decision, examining each road carefully before choosing. To some extent, his hesitation stems from his knowledge that the choice is essentially irreversible. As he notes in the third stanza,

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

The speaker understands that it is unlikely he will ever return to this fork in the road and have the chance to take the other path to see where it led. In life, "way leads on to way," meaning that it is impossible to see the outcome a different decision might have had on one’s life.

Ultimately, however, the poem suggests that the speaker’s decision is not as weighty as he seems to think. The two roads are shown to be essentially the same, being equally covered in leaves and worn “really about the same.” Indeed, part of the poem’s irony is that the speaker need not feel as sorry as he does.

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