Fate, Destiny and Free Will in Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

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The Road Not Taken: The Paradox of Free Will Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken", is a profound philosophical approach illustrating the paradox of free will. In the first line, Frost uses the metaphor "Two roads diverged" (1), to establish not only the dilemma of the traveler in the poem, but life itself. The decisions we make in life, like the traveler in "The Road Not Taken", are not to be taken lightly. There is a desire to be adventurous, yet we fear possible regret for 'what might have been'. Either way, we must live with the choices we make. "The Road Not Taken" is an ambiguous poem epitomizing the complex nature of individuality. The literal situation of "The Road Not Taken" concerns a traveler who is faced with a very simple decision. The traveler comes to a crossroads in "a yellow wood" (1). Two paths lay ahead of him, both "just as fair" (6). The traveler desires to take both roads, but knows that he "could not take both" (2), and is disturbed by that realization. He regrets being able experience both paths. The traveler takes his time contemplating over which direction to pursue. As he looks for sign to guide him, he notices an undergrowth hiding a bend in one of the paths. This distraction in his line of vision was one of two differences in the roads that lied ahead. The second difference is that the other road "wanted wear" (8). Although the paths otherwise seem very similar, the adventurous traveler proceeds down "the one less traveled" (19). The traveler makes his decision, but is reluctant. Instead of saying, 'it has the better claim', he says "having perhaps the better claim" (7). The indecisiveness of the traveler is seen once again... ... middle of paper ... ...cond practical literary device Frost uses is tone. Tone reflects the writers attitude toward the subject being addressed. The obvious tone of the traveler is contemplation and hesitance. Frost is successful in using tone to communicate the mood not only of the traveler but that of the shaky situation:" I doubted that I should ever come back" (15). In conclusion, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, could not have developed the concept of individuality and choice any clearer. Frost is a great poet who has an uncanny ability to confound nature and life. "The Road Not Taken" has led me to consider more carefully the decisions I make. The benefit of free will is the freedom to choose. The misfortune of choice is the contemplation of regret. Frost addresses this paradox in order to convey the complex nature of individuality and life itself.

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