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The Road not Taken is the most popular poem written by Robert Frost. It tells about common themes such as nature and debatable human decisions. However, it produced an amazing effect on the world of literature as, under the obvious natural things, the author hides extraordinary symbols implemented in a deep philosophical and metaphysical context. The author proposes to choose the right way in the forest, but the choice is a complicated metaphor related to the problem of making decisions in life. Nevertheless, the value of the poem is that everyone can notice some particular and even personal interpretation, which makes the piece a literal art of symbolism. The role of the speaker is quite controversial as he can be associated with the author as well anyone who reads the poem. The writer shows the conflict between reality and imagination, applying a variety of symbols such as the crossroad, forest, choice, road, nature, decision, and even the title. Although the poem seems to be a simple description of natural issues, it is a complicated symbolical piece of literature with a deep philosophical and metaphysical sense.
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Robert Frost’s poem is an admirable reflection of the true essence of human life, which is closely related to nature. The reader can be impressed with the outer simplicity and internal power of the poem. Frost presented a skillful gradual elevation of ideas, ending the poem in a complicated and wise recommendation. Thus, the main theme of the poem is the problem of life choice, which is reflected through symbolism. Moreover, there is no single interpretation of its meaning, and it can be grasped only through personal perception and life existence. This issue confirms the value and significance of the poem. The traveler stops his walk at the point where the road divides into two paths. In such a way, the author raises the issue that at some moment in life people have to make their choice. This decision can be made at different times, at the beginning of the end of life. The character of this literary piece is metaphorical. The style is a philosophical search for understanding the aspects of life, the meaning of which is not obvious. The form of the poem seems to be simple; however, the author applies different figures of speech such as antithesis, symbols, metaphors, and irony to reflect a deeper context and valuable meaning.
The symbol is the key device of the poem, which is used with the purpose to reveal the meaning and significance of things. Robert Frost tries to summarize the course of human life. Symbolism is a tool that is used by the author for recreating some hidden metaphysical reality through natural issues. Thus, nature appears to be one of the most essential symbols of the text. Nature symbolizes the setting of events that are associated with making an essential decision. The author underlines the nature both of human consciousness and of phenomena (Pramono 20). It is some kind of a turning point in life when a human faces difficulties associated with making a complicated choice. Each pattern of the natural world exemplifies some hidden essential meaning. Besides, human life is as unrespectable and unpredictable as natural phenomena. The first line of the poem tells about the yellow colors of the wood: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood (Frost). It can mean autumn as a season and a period of life when a person becomes old. This line shows the main setting of the poem and the relation of nature and human existence within natural processes. Thus, natural processes are a symbolic reflection of all the periods and processes of human life.
The symbol of the road indicates the path of life, human destiny, which is dependable on the choices a person makes. This symbol is important not only for the meaning of the journey but also because it refers to the final point, the end of the road, and the essence of the destination. The symbol of the road is used in the poem with some slight persistence as it has a deep metaphorical meaning. However, the essence of a crossroad is even more complicated and evocative since it is associated with making a vital decision. Robert Frost expresses his feelings concerning both roads and describes their meaning. However, the title hints slightly at a different path. The author does not prefer any of the two ways, and the title of the poem confirms that he, probably, finds another road or takes his own path, the road that was not indicated before. The symbolism of the road is the most complicated as it contains some information out of context and is not reflected in words. It is the difference between reality and imagination. The decision is not logical in the real world similar to the majority of choices people make.
The decision is the final resort of the long journey during human life. The meaning of choice is controversial and not rational in the context of the poem because the poet takes into consideration strange facts about the traditional road and does not want to use it. George Monteiro tries to explain the deep meaning of the decision through the symbol of the road: The road of Reasons and the road of sensuality (46). It is an explanation of the deep philosophical Gospel truth. A right decision associates with humans’ future, behavior, values, and other issues. Robert Frost refuses from both paths and makes his personal way of destiny, rejecting all existing prejudices. Thus, Orr concludes making a decision: Every choice becomes a matter of existential significance, after all, we aren’t merely deciding to go left or right; we’re transforming our very selves (76). The meaning of the decision is intensified by the setting of the poem.
The wood is a symbol of human helplessness. The author shows and confirms this idea through his complete uncertainty about the decision. The essence of the wood is exaggerated by the associations it arises, such as fear, dismay, perplexity, and confusion about the choice. Moreover, the image of the wood is so essential that the poet does not describe the forest, its part, or any other place. The wood can be threatening, unknown, and vicious similar to some paths of human life. Moreover, the symbol of the wood shows the period of ordeals and stagnation in life when a person is faced with some unforeseen danger. The end of the road is unpredictable due to unknown settings and circumstances in the deep wood. However, the wood is a place where a person can create an individual way and follow it as the author does.
Therefore, the title of the poem reflects the most interesting symbol and hints at the conclusion from its beginning. It is necessary to admit that the title is the key to the interpretation of the poem. Robert Frost chose a suitable beginning and title for such a complicated symbolical context. The idea of two ways is intriguing. The author shows some kind of a trick, making the reader believe that there is no other choice except these two roads, one of which is right and the other one is wrong. One decision can be natural and appropriate, whereas the other one is weird and unnatural. However, the reader cannot understand from the first reading that the third variant is always possible, as it is manifested in the title. Thus, the title of the poem reflects an additional theme and drama of the text. Human should find his or her personal life path. The dilemma is which one is right. A person should see the individual way from the first glance. If a human sees some roads that were created by other people, he or she should never follow them. The key idea is the creation of personal philosophy and following it.
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The poem The Road not Taken by Robert Frost is one of the most known poems in America. Although it seems simple, the true essence of the text is complicated with an extended metaphorical, symbolical, and philosophical context. However, the issues of symbolism make the poem a significant source of the metaphysical dilemma. Moreover, the interpretation of the context can be individual as different people see a variety of approaches to the issue. The author decompounds the context with a variety of symbols such as wood, decision, choice, roads, crossroads, and nature. Each component conveys a deep philosophical meaning of the story, revealing the drama of human life and hidden advice as to the key idea of the poem. The main symbol of the poem is hidden in the title, which associates with the prescription to make a personal choice and create an individual path in life. This aspect of the text identifies and exemplifies the cultural significance of the poem. It is a significant piece of art as the author reveals the essence of life through the essence of nature. All the elements of the poem function as a single complicated symbol related to the innate conflict that is typical of humans and is projected to the environment and its processes. These aspects contribute to the significance of the poem.