Theme of the Road Not Taken

In life decisions have to be made. Some are regular every day choices that have little impact on your life. Others however, can change your life forever. In “The Road Not Taken” Robert Frost uses sound, figurative language, diction to illustrate the importance of every day decisions and the regret you get when you think about those decisions later in life. Once the first stanza is read the first example of sound is revealed. The rhyme scheme in this poem is ABAAB. The words that rhyme in the first stanza are “wood/stood/could” (lines 1, 3, and 4) and “both/undergrowth” (lines 2 and 5).
These rhymes give the poem a sense of connectivity and flow. They also emphasize certain ideas in the poem such as the fact that both paths were equal in every way and none had been traveled before as he states in stanza two. Also alliteration is present in the poem. In line eight, alliteration makes the poem flow more poetically. “Because it was grassy and wanted wear;” (line 8). The “wa” sound repeats itself in the last two words of the line. These examples of sound make a poem that should sound uneven flow like a poem should. Figurative language in a poem can intensify any meaning greatly.
For example Frost uses personification and imagery to create pictures in our head of what the forest looks like and gives personality to inanimate objects. For example, when Frost says “Because it was grassy and wanted wear” (line 8) in line eight he uses personification. A road cannot want anything but it does give the road the personality that it has not been traveled ever before. Also he gives imagery when he says the forest is a “yellow wood” (line 1) which gives the impression that the leaves have fallen off the trees and it is autumn time in the forest.

Autumn in literature represents the coming of old age and wisdom but the character still has a feeling of fulfillment. So in the poem the character could be nearing the end of his journey with a feeling of riches and fulfillment but a final decision might determine his destiny. Finally diction in this poem creates the theme and gives the poem the regretful and remorseful feeling we get at the end. In the final stanza he says that “I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence. ” (lines 16 and17).
Now, when someone tells a story with a sigh it means that they might regret the story they are about to tell. The character probably second guesses himself on the decision he made years ago and wonders what he would be like if he had chosen the other path. Even as he makes the choice (as he knows he has to or else he will not get anywhere) he knows that whatever path he chooses he will never know what lies on the other side. This is why he always tells his story with a sigh. Decisions in life are hard to make and sometimes can be overwhelming.
Frost uses sound, figurative language, and diction to communicate what decisions can lead to later in life. The poem explains that in life there is not a right or wrong path. There are just many paths that are equal and have different outcomes. This leads to people second guessing themselves later in life and wondering about the unknowable path that they did not take. This means that no matter what path you choose something is going to happen and you have to accept it. Therefore, in life it doesn’t matter if you make the right or wrong decisions just seize the day.

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