Published in 1916, “The Road Not Taken” is Robert Frost’s most well-known poem, and perhaps one of the most well-known poems of all time. It's also one that benefits from a close reading and analysis, as students may find that there are different interpretations of what it means.
The poem begins with the speaker coming across a fork in the road. He is unsure which way he should continue. He looks at both paths, pondering the fact that he would like to take both, but he knows that as one person, his journey can only go one way. He realizes that both paths are seemingly similar, but those who passed through them had their own individual journeys. In the end, he decides to take the path that seems more worn, as others have taken it more frequently. He says that someday, in the distant future, he will claim that he took the road less traveled, and that it made a big difference in his life.
”The Road Not Taken” is a widely misunderstood poem. It is complex and can be interpreted in more than one way. Many readers conclude that the speaker did, in fact, take the road that many others decided against, but that is not how Frost intended the poem to be interpreted. The entire poem is a metaphor; the road represents decisions that we make as people, and how different our lives turn out because of those decisions. No one knows what the future holds, and no one truly knows what could’ve been had we taken a different path in life.