The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is one of the most popular poems of all time. On the surface it looks simple but it has deep meanings that most don’t think about.
Frost was inspired to write the poem by the landscape in rural Gloucestershire, England. He lived in Great Britain from 1912 to 1915. While living in England Frost would take walks with another writer Edward Thomas, they would discuss poetry and botany. Thomas would often wish that they had taken an alternate route to see the plants. Frost began “The Road Not Taken” in England but didn’t finish till he got back to the U.S. They continued to be friends until Thomas died in WWI.
In the first stanza introduces the speaker’s predicament. In the woods he has two paths in front of him he wants to go down both but he can only choose one. The speaker decides to take the path that looks less traveled in the second stanza. As he walks down the path he realizes they are both about the same “Had worn them really about the same” (10). In the third stanza he notices there are fresh fallen leave on the path that had not been walked on “In leaves no step had trodden black” (12). He wondered if the other path would be the same. He thinks about visiting the other path but doubts he will ever get a chance. In the last stanza the speaker says “I shall be telling this with a sigh” (16). This could be a happy sigh showing that he was happy with the path he took. If it’s a sad sigh it means he regrets the path he took, but the poem never explains if it was a happy or sad sigh.
On the surface the poem is just is just about choosing a path in the woods, although for others they see an inspiring story about taking the harder, less traveled path. For Robert Frost the poem was about his friend Edward Thomas. The average reader can take it however they want though.