Why does the poet repeat the line "And miles to go before I sleep"?

In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," the poet may repeat the line “And miles to go before I sleep” in order to convey the general wistfulness of the speaker and how much he wishes for respite. The use of repetition could also be to draw the reader’s attention to potential figurative meanings of the words.

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In repeating the penultimate line of the poem as the poem’s final line, Frost draws attention to it, both accentuating the speaker's feelings of wistfulness and underscoring the figurative possibilities of the line. Regarding the first reading, the speaker clearly wishes he could remain in the tranquil and silent woods,...

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In repeating the penultimate line of the poem as the poem’s final line, Frost draws attention to it, both accentuating the speaker's feelings of wistfulness and underscoring the figurative possibilities of the line. Regarding the first reading, the speaker clearly wishes he could remain in the tranquil and silent woods, watching the snow fall while being far away from the village and from society more generally. Despite how “lovely” and “deep” the woods are, especially on this “darkest evening of the year,” the speaker is conscious of his obligations, or “promises” that he needs to keep. Thus, his repetition of the line “And miles to go before I sleep” seems to emphasize how much he would love to rest and at the same time how much farther he must go before he will be able to do so.

From a more figurative perspective, the line offers another meaning. We might interpret “miles” and “sleep” as signifying not just distance and rest, respectively, but also toil and death. Sleep is often used as a symbol for death, and that symbolism may be resonant in this context, given how weary the speaker seems and how much he longs for peace and repose. Thus, the repetition of the line draws attention to it and helps alert us to its potential symbolism.

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