Poems Similar to the Road Not Taken
The poem, The Road Not Taken, has spawned numerous interpretations. Unfortunately, most of them fall into one of two traps.
The first is the idea that the speaker chose the path that seemed less traveled, but he or she can never know for sure that it was. The other trap is the idea that the choice made all the difference.
1. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
In 1912 to 1915, Robert Frost developed a friendship with the poet Edward Thomas while living in England. They often went on walks together, and one day they came across two roads that diverged in opposite directions. Thomas was indecisive about which path to take, so Frost wrote the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ in response.
The poem has become an enduring metaphor for life’s many choices and is interpreted in countless ways. It has been used by musicians and cited in the titles of several television shows. The line “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by” is known to have inspired many people to live more adventurous lives.
The structure of the poem is lyrical, with a natural flow that allows readers to flow through the poem as if reading a story. The poem is also metrically balanced, with a mix of iambic tetrameter and anapests. The poetic device of enjambment is also used throughout the piece to maintain the flow between lines and connect them internally.
2. “Fire and Ice” by William Wordsworth
Wordsworth’s deceptively simple poem uses a metaphor of fire and ice to convey deeper, insightful meanings. The two contrasting elements are symbolic of desire and hate, which represent the conflicting parts of human nature.
The poem begins by describing two views of the world’s end: some believe it will be ended by fire, and others believe that it will end in ice. While he does not provide a definitive answer, Wordsworth implies that both sides are wrong. The world will end either way, and it is up to humans to determine whether it will be destroyed by the flames of their own desires or frozen in a glacial vise of hatred.
This is one of Wordsworth’s most influential poems, and it is believed that he wrote it while grieving for his sister Dorothy. It also marks the beginning of his development as a Romantic poet, and it inspired him to begin writing The Prelude, which would become his full statement of his beliefs on human nature.
3. “The Road Not Taken” by John Keats
The poem is a metaphor of the complexities of life. It can be read in different ways, depending on the interpretation. It can be seen as being about regret or appreciation. It can also be seen as being about choice and the nature of change.
The narrator in the poem walks through a yellow wood and encounters two roads that diverge. He is faced with a decision: which path should he take? It is impossible to travel both paths, so he must choose one. This choice will affect his entire life.
In line thirteen, the narrator expresses regret over his decision. He feels that he will never be given the chance to come back and take the other road.
It is possible that Frost based the speaker in this poem on his friend Edward Thomas, who was indecisive. This poem discusses the difficulty of making decisions in the moment and the sense that those choices will define a person’s life, even though they can’t be fully understood.
4. “The Road Not Taken” by Emily Dickinson
Although Dickinson did not publish much of her work during her lifetime, after her death her sister discovered hundreds of poems that she had crafted over the years. These manuscripts, known as her “fascicles,” were assembled in small booklets that are sewn together and bound by paper clips. These bundles of verse feature a wide variety of dash-like marks, some of which are vertical or even diagonal, and a unique use of syntax. Despite this complexity, the works seem to share a central theme of finding meaning in life’s internal differences.
This theme is reflected in the poem “The Road Not Taken,” which depicts a fork in the road. The speaker imagines themselves in the future, reflecting back on their decision, believing that choosing the path that seemed less traveled made all the difference. Yet, upon closer inspection, the reader realizes that the speaker cannot know if this was actually the case—that both roads were “worn…really about the same.” This suggests that the poem is less about regret than it is about the complexity of the act of choosing one’s path in life.