An Analysis of Tone in The Road not Taken, a Poem by Robert Frost

Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken reveals a simple, but profound theme. The poem describes the choices and dilemmas one faces in life and how they affect each person. Frost illustrates this theme by illustrating two paths through the woods. The author later reveals the personality and attributes of the main character while he or she considers past lives. This helps to create a connection between the reader, the character, and the poem. Frost’s use of emblematic diction, setting and characterization strengthens the reader’s figurative presence within the poem. These devices help to strengthen the relationship between the reader’s and the character, allowing Frost’s message of insight to be even more clear. Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken portrays a very reflective and pensive tone through the use of symbolic imagery, representative setting and strong diction. This encourages the reader to think about his or her life.

The poem demonstrates that life is full of millions of decisions. Sometimes regret is best left to fate. The poem reveals that there are two routes to choose from, but the author Robert Frost isn’t sure which one to choose. This is not just a decision between two options that are mediocre, but a major life-altering one. The tone changes dramatically towards the end, from undecided to regretful.

The poet speaks with a sad tone and sighs about a time in his life. The tone of sadness that the poet uses to describe his life is fitting. Further, the speaker is referring to a characteristic of human nature. The poem is written in first person. It uses the pronoun “I” to personalize the meaning. This allows the reader to have direct access to the poet’s thoughts and feelings.

Frost’s use imagery is one of the most important elements of this poem. The poem’s opening lines show the main character stopping at a fork in the forest and contemplating which direction to go. This is the most important part of the poem. It symbolizes a decision that must be made in life. Literature often depicts roads as a symbol of travel or migration. The character’s decision about which path to take is a reflection of the character’s self-reflection about the direction they want to go in their lives. The character notes, secondly, that the end is covered in “undergrowth” metaphorically, which signifies the perplexity and uncertainty of life. This analysis is clearly evident in the poem’s first stanza: “Two roads diverged through a yellow forest, / and sorry I couldn’t travel both / So I stood there long enough / And looked down on one as far as possible / To the place it bent in undergrowth …” (lines 1-5) Frost’s use these figurative images is a central example of his tone of self-reflection, cogitation and boldly portrays the importance of lifestyle decision making.

Frost also uses setting as a literary element to convey his tone. He writes in the poem: “Two roads became one in a yellowwood …”” (line 1). The expression “a yellowwood” could be a reference to the color that the trees radiated. This indicates that the story is set in autumn. It also contributes to the feeling that time is running out for the character. Frost once again sets the tone, demonstrating his character’s rational contemplation, and eventually, regret. Frost further describes the setting by indicating that the paths were not used, and even stating one was green, establishing a place of serenity as well as aesthetic beauty. The setting is a metaphor for innocence and potential. The forked trail may represent maturation and development as the character must choose where he or she wants his life to go. It says in the second stanza that “Then took one, as equally fair, / And with perhaps the better claim,/ Because it had grass and wanted to wear …” (lines 6-8) It almost feels like the character is expecting life to want him or her to enter the garden. The poem suggests that the grass wants to be cut. This is likely one reason why Frost’s character expresses regret later on in the poem. Frost conveys his solemn, contemplative tone again by introducing the reader to the character’s past experiences.

Frost pulls the reader in as he portrays the woman or man standing in the woods. As the character faces a dilemma, he or she eventually feels conflicted and has mixed emotions after choosing one of the choices. The character begins the second stanza by stating that he or her hastily chosen the grassy trail, which according to the theme is not wise. The author suggests that the character is impulsive and adventurous. He or she wanders through the forest aimlessly. The character becomes more regretful about the choices he or she made as the story progresses. As the character walks, he/she begins to feel fearful of the alternative path, even though it may be more appealing or aesthetic. The third stanza explains this by saying “…And both those mornings equally lay / In leaves that no step had treaded black. The first I saved for another day! But knowing the way leads to way, / I was unsure if I should ever return.” (lines 11-15). The relationship between the character and the reader is strengthened by understanding their feelings. This makes the author’s solemn message and reflective tone even more persuasive.

Frost’s final figurative element is diction. This is prominent in the last stanza because it shows the character’s regrets. “I will be telling this with an sigh / Somewhere, ages and ages hence:/ Two roads diverged through a wood and I-/ I chose the one less traveled by, which / And that has made everything different.” (lines 16-20). Frost uses the word “sigh” to express the character’s dissatisfaction about his or her decision. The character realizes that he/she made a mistake and suggests that the alternative path would have been chosen. This is in keeping with Frost’s tone, as shown in the character’s regrets.

Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken is a short poem that proves its literary merit. It has a well-developed theme and tone. Frost uses many literary devices to create a deeply philosophical and contemplative piece. Metaphorical imagery is a prominent feature, including trees, autumn, and roads. The tone is further demonstrated by his use of setting and character. The poem can be read by anyone, since it allows them to immerse themselves in the text. The text’s captivating quality is due to the author’s use of diction. It allows the reader to enter the mind of the character. Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken demonstrates a regretful, but insightful tone. It uses imagery, setting, character, imagery, and dialect for the sole purpose to make the reader more aware of the complexities and haste of life.

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