• LITERAL MEANING: The poet refers to an
actual road which has not been travelled on as
much as other roads. The road shows less
wear and tear because fewer travellers have
chosen to take that road.
• FIGURATIVE MEANING: The road symbolises
the journey of life that all humans travel on
from the day they are born.
1. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, a
2. And sorry I could not travel both b
3. And be one traveler, long I stood a
4. And looked down one as far as I could a
5. To where it bent in the undergrowth; b
6. Then took the other, as just as fair, c
7. And having perhaps the better claim, d
8. Because it was grassy and wanted wear; c
9. Though as for that the passing there c
10.Had worn them really about the same, d
11. And both that morning equally lay e
12. In leaves no step had trodden black. f
13. Oh, I kept the first for another day! e
14. Yet knowing how way leads on to way, e
15. I doubted if I should ever come back. f
16. I shall be telling this with a sigh g
17. Somewhere ages and ages hence: h
18. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— g
19. I took the one less traveled by, g
20. And that has made all the difference h
STANZA 1: LINES 1 – 5
1. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
2. And sorry I could not travel both
3. And be one traveler, long I stood
4. And looked down one as far as I could
5. To where it bent in the undergrowth;
know the speaker
is faced with a
Yellow = indicates Autumn. The idea
behind using autumn is that the year is
coming to an end. A time for reflection.
The speaker regrets that
he cannot travel on both
roads... And still remain
one traveller. (He cannot
split himself in two).
He stayed at that spot, for a
very long time... Why?
He took the time to look
down one road till he
could see no further – it
BENT AWAY due to a curve
in the road.
LITERAL: The speaker is on a journey somewhere
and is faced with a choice of which road to take.
FIGURATIVE: The journey represents LIFE and the
choice relates to the choices we have to make.
STANZA 2: LINES 6 – 10
6. Then took the other, as just as fair,
7. And having perhaps the better claim,
8. Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
9. Though as for that the passing there
10.Had worn them really about the same,
Surprisingly – after spending
a lot of time looking down
one path – the speaker TAKES
THE OTHER... WHY?
Both paths look
as fair (beautiful)
as each other
However, the path he has
chosen has the ‘better
claim’ (An informal right)
to him travelling on it …
It was more grassed
over and it was clear
that very few people
had taken that
WANTED = Lacked.
‘There’ refers to the point at the fork in the
road where many others would have stood
and thought about which path to choose.
This particular point would be worn down
as many people would have spent time
there, wondering which path to decide on.
The speaker felt adventurous. He
was displaying independence and
individualism as he did not want
to follow everyone else. He did
not want to conform; instead he
displayed freedom of choice.
STANZA 3: LINES 11 – 15
11. And both that morning equally lay
12. In leaves no step had trodden black.
13. Oh, I kept the first for another day!
14. Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
15. I doubted if I should ever come back.
That morning –
the paths looked
How is this
Nobody has walked on these paths
this morning – the leaves are still
their natural colours – not
The poet's intention
is to return so that he
can travel along the
other path some
other day in the
Is this realistic?
mark emphasises the
The speaker knows that often
one path/road leads to
another and another – as we
move forward. Therefore…
He doubts that he will ever
come back to this
particular spot on his
LITERAL & FIGURATIVE
L: The actual road
F: On the journey of
life – we are unable
to go back to the
16. I shall be telling this with a sigh
17. Somewhere ages and ages hence:
18. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
19. I took the one less traveled by,
20. And that has made all the difference
STANZA 4: LINES 16 – 20
The speaker will tell this story with
a SIGH of regret. He would have
loved to have travelled along the
other path to see where it would
take him and how it could have
influenced his life.
The story will be told
many years hence
(from this time). The
speaker is imagining
looking back on this
Situation: two roads
Action: the speaker
took the one less
NOTE: Repetition of I
conveys his firm
emphasises that this
is his individual,
NOT influenced by
L: The speaker took the path
F: The speaker refers to
making the ‘unpopular’
choices in life.
The speaker does not
regret his choice as
THAT CHOICE has ‘made
all the difference’ in his
the ‘story’ is
about to follow.
• The tone used and mood created is:
reflective and nostalgic.
• The poet is reflecting on (thinking about) the
decision he had to make and is nostalgic for
the path he was unable to take. Relates to
having to make decisions and looking back on
the consequences of those decisions.
• Nostalgia: Longing for familiar things – usually
from the past.
TONE AND MOOD
Why the road LESS travelled?
• The poet makes it clear that the path was
more attractive to him and won his approval
because it was less worn by other travellers.
The lack of other travellers makes it more
appealing to him.
• It appeals to his individuality and sense of
What is the message?
• He wants us all to realise that in life we face
many different choices – there will be options
that will be popular with a lot of people and
options that people will not choose.
• Once we have made a decision, our path and
therefore our future has been determined. We
cannot go back and change the decisions we