The Crossroad Symbolic of the Turning Point in Frost's Life
The symbol of a road has been predominantly used to indicate the journey of Life. However, it signifies not only journey but also the destination. The metaphor of the road is used persistently in the poem, and is therefore an extended metaphor. The crossroad functions as an evocative metaphor for a vital decision. The road in question is situated in a forest.
The popular perception of the poem is that Robert Frost takes one of the two roads he describes. However, the title puts more emphasis on the idea that Frost had not taken any of the specified roads. Rather, he traverses the middle path.
Frost was always caught between two worlds: that of being a teacher and a poet; between reality and imagination. In the prescribed poem, he ruminates over which vocation to pursue, that of a poet or a teacher. He finally arrives at the decision that one can be a poet and yet teach; one can be a teacher and yet philosophize. Thus, he does not take either of the two roads described, but forges his own path. The greatest evidence for this is Frost himself: poet and teacher. Had he taken any one of the popular roads, the poem would be entitled “The Road Taken”.
“The Road Not Taken” may also allude to Frost's shifting between imagination and reality. Here also, he adopts a middle stand. He lives a practical life, yet his imagination manifests itself in his writing.
At the outset he comprehends that he is sorry could not travel both : "And sorry I could not travel both/ And be one traveler.” His first impression is that it is not practical. He first ruminates over traveling on the first road, and then talks of the second road. It is generally conceived that he took the second road. But he also mentions that the path was worn out due to constant use; and toward the end of the poem he mentions that he took the ‘road less travelled’. It implies that he did not take the second, as that was the one commonly used. He categorically states that he kept the first for another day. Therefore, he eventually took the middle path. Hence, the title “The Road Not Taken.”
What the poet shows through “The Road Not Taken” is that decisions in life cannot be specifically organized into logical alternatives or mathematical units. Sometimes life is beyond logic, categorization and mathematical division. The decision is indeed unique, this is why he states:
“And that has made all the difference.”