The Road Not Taken Questions and Answers
by Robert Frost

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Why doesn't the speaker think he will ever have a chance to walk the other road in "The Road Not Taken"?

The idea that “way leads on to way” in Robert Frosts's "The Road Not Taken" means that a choice in life leads on to other choices, making it very difficult to go back and take the other road. Even if it were possible to take the other road later, this would clearly not afford exactly the same experience as if one had taken it the first time.

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The answer to your question can be found in the last two lines of the third stanza:

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

Here, the poet refers to how life takes us in unexpected directions and how we seldom end up in the position of being faced with the exact same options twice. Since he has chosen the one road, it is unlikely that he will circle back and find himself having an opportunity to walk down the other path.

This is the case with every decision we make in life, no matter how random it seems. Each decision—whether or not to get married, accept a job offer, or be friends with somebody—adds a new fork to our journey. While we cannot see where these paths will take us, it is unlikely that we will ever go back to that same opportunity with the same choices laid out before us.

Frost goes on to explain, in the last stanza, that it is "with a sigh" that he knows that he will not get to come back and explore the other path. However, he concludes by...

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