“The Path Not Traveled” by Robert Frost is a poem that depicts a current dilemma in which the speaker must choose which path to follow. In the first stanza, the speaker hesitates throughout the trip because he is confronted with an intersection of roads where he is compelled to select a single direction. The only distinction between the two is that one is “bent in the undergrowth” while the other is “grassy and desired wear” (Frost 5/8). This poses a quandary, causing the speaker to pause for a moment before making the correct decision. He understands that he cannot take both roads at the same time, and as such must take time to choose the road that will satisfy his present and future needs. After a proper consideration, the speaker chooses the “grassy and wanted wear” road (Frost 8).
The speaker hesitated in order to choose a road that is worthwhile his life. He aimed at choosing that path that has new opportunities and has been less travelled by him before. The poem presents a situation in which a choice must be made between two options. The hesitation allowed for the analysis of the choices as the final decision can either impact his life positively or negatively. This explains why the speaker took time along the intersection of the roads; he examined them carefully to make the right choice. In the poem, it is stated that he “looked down one as far as he could” to ensure he got the correct picture of the roads (Frost 4).
The speaker chooses the second road which is “less travelled.” After making this choice, he explains that he might return to take the other road. However, he makes it clear that this may not be possible since his choice will only lead him to the other road. He states that, “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, / I doubted if I should ever come back” (Frost 14-15). In this perspective, it is clear how significant the hesitation was to the speaker. He got the opportunity to choose the right road in his perspective and move forward with the choice. Through the choice, he has satisfaction that he will achieve his life dreams through the journey. The hesitation serves as a key changing point in the speaker’s life.
Throughout the poem, readers are able to realize the mood of anticipation and the excitement as he waits to choose the right path. Reaching a crossroad of the two paths, the speaker is brought to a standstill as he is left to contemplate which road will lead him to the great destination. Anticipation can be observed when the speaker stops to contemplate; he is at first unsure of which path to choose since both of them appear appealing. As such, the speaker asserts, “Though as for that, the passing there / Had worn them really about the same” (Frost 9-10). This reveals his dilemma as he feels both roads have promising results. He further shows the similarity of the roads by asserting that “both that morning equally lay/ In leaves no step had trodden black” (Frost 11-12). With no “black” steps in both paths, the speaker anticipates that they may probably provide him with the opportunity to advance in life.
With an anticipation of better choice, the speaker contemplates of any possible future consequences in regards to the impending decision on the right path. As such, he considers the fact that his final destination depends on the decision of the road he is to choose. In the end, the speaker chooses one road that was “less traveled by” (Frost 19). He believed that this path would provide him with greater experience compared to the other that was not taken. His anticipations on the path chosen can be observed from his descriptions; he associates the path with “better claims” and “grassy.”
The speaker, however, shows a negative anticipation of the path chosen towards the end of the poem. This is evident from the title “The Road Not Taken.” Rather than focusing on the path he had chosen, he describes the path he did not take imagining whether it would have better opportunities than the one taken. Being unable to “travel both / And be one traveler” (Frost 2-3), the speaker must only rely on one path, but all of them indicate prosperity and, thus, create dilemma in anticipation. The speaker makes self-evaluation and attempts to determine if the other path could have been better, thus, revealing anticipation on the abandoned road.