Robert Frost Poetry Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Road not Taken, Robert Frost uses the setting, mood, and characterization to help illuminate the theme of choice symbolized by the road not taken.

The poem uses various literary devices to describe choice.

The poem is set in the woods, where two roads diverge.

The setting is symbolic.

The roads represent choice.

The poem has a contemplative mood.

Each of the choices is appealing

The traveler knows that choosing one road means choosing not to follow the other road.

The poem has a complex structure with:

Four five-line stanzas;

ABAAB rhyme structure;

Iambic tetrameter; and D. The use of some anapests.

Frost uses an unnamed narrator in the poem

A. Old enough to have made choices

Not an old person because the narrator expects to age

Poetry Analysis: The Road not Taken by Robert Frost

In The Road not Taken, Robert Frost uses the narrator's voice to describe a man looking back at his life and contemplating his choices. The narrator describes a pivotal decision-point in his life as encountering two roads in a wood. He glances down both of the paths, judges them to be about the same in their nature and character, and then chooses to take the road that has had less wear and fewer passengers. Although the narrator of the poem is, presumably, an older man, he is describing a decision made when he is younger. Therefore,
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one of the significant themes of the poem is youth. Another theme of the poem is nature; he describes these life-choices in terms of how they would appear in a natural setting and how each of them would appear if given the actual wear that would result from those traveling upon them. Another significant theme of the poem is the nature of choice. These themes become clear as one examines the other elements of the poem including setting, mood, literary devices, and the characterization of the narrator.

The setting of the poem is clear. It begins "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood," making it clear that the narrator is standing in a yellow wood (Frost, 1916). The setting is described further than that; one of the roads is well-trodden, the other has not seen as much wear. They bend into the undergrowth, suggesting that, while the beginnings of the paths are well-defined, the observer cannot where they end or what hazards they may hold from the beginning of the trail. While the setting is clear, it is not the literal setting of the poem. Instead, the setting of the poem is symbolic. The yellow woods themselves have little meaning other than as a place where the narrator is put in the position of having to make a choice between two pleasant alternatives: "And sorry I could not travel both / And be one traveler" (Frost, 1916). Therefore, the yellow wood could symbolize almost any time that a person would be placed in…

Sources Used in Documents:


Frost, R. (1916). The road not taken. Retrieved May 19, 2014 from Poetry Foundation website:

Cite This Essay:

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