Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Once upon a time, the poet was walking down a road when he came to a cross roads; there were two distinct paths and he had to choose one of them.
According to the poet, because he was a single person, he could travel only on one road.
He was required to choose between these two routes. Yellow wood refers to a forest with worn-out leaves that have turned yellow in colour during the autumn season.
It represents a world teeming with life, where people have lived for centuries.
They represent individuals who are more older to the poet.
The poet remained standing there, carefully inspecting the path as far as he could see. Prior to embarking on the path, he desired to ascertain its condition.
Was it appropriate for him or not?
He could see the path until it curved, at which point it became hidden from view by trees.
It happens in our lives as well when we have options, when we have alternatives but must choose only one, when we consider the pros and cons, whether the path is suitable for us or not, and only then do we make a decision on which path to take.
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
The poet looked at one path for an extended period of time to determine whether it was the right path for him or not, and then he decided to walk down another path because he felt both paths were equally good.
He states that both paths were equally good, and thus he began walking on one of them.
He adds that he may have felt that the path was more suitable for him because it was covered in grass, indicating that it was unused.
Because few people had walked on this path previously, it was grassy. ‘And desired wear’ indicates that it was not walked over by a large number of people.
After walking along the path for a while, he realised that both paths had been wormed out in the same manner.
Both paths were similar in appearance and were worn out.
Even in our lives, we can choose any path or option, but they all have the same benefits, drawbacks, problems, and challenges, which we must overcome.
We believe we are making a better choice, but this is not the case.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Both roads are equally covered in leaves.
This morning, neither path has been used, as the leaves remain undisturbed.
This signifies that the poet’s life choices are both unknown to him.
The poet remains adamant about taking the road he had previously chosen, stating that he will save the alternate route for another day.
This represents the fact that he will make the second choice in life only if he is dissatisfied with the outcome of the first.
He observes that he will almost certainly never pass this way again, as one path leads to another, and thus will never have the chance to take the alternate route.
This represents the fact that he will never be able to make a second choice in life.
According to the poet, both paths were similar that morning. Both had leaves on them and were still green in colour, indicating that no one had stepped on them.
He decided that day to take one path and leave the other for another day, despite the fact that one path leads to another.
He was well aware that he could not reverse his decision.
Similarly, once we choose an option in life, we must continue with that option and never have the opportunity to return and take the other option we had previously abandoned.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood and I
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
He says that in the future, he will take a deep breath and recount how, once upon a time, he had reached a point in his life where he had two options, and he chose the less travelled road.
That choice shaped his future.
Similarly, when you become an adult, you will recall that once upon a time, when you were a child, you had two options.
The choice you made shaped you into who you are.
This is a powerful message for all students – that you should be sensible and cautious when making choices from the options available to you in life, because your future is dependent on the choices you make today
Central Idea of Poem
This poem is on the importance of making decisions in life and how those decisions influence our future.
When it comes to making a decision, there are numerous options available, but man must choose only one.
It is only in the future that we will be able to determine whether or not the decision made was correct.
We can’t go back and change our minds after we’ve made a decision; we can only regret it.
Even if we wanted to, we wouldn’t be able to start over. As a result, making the proper decision and making the appropriate choices are extremely important in one’s life.
Any incorrect decision or choice might have a negative effect on life.
NCERT SOLVED QUESTIONS
- Where does the traveller find himself? What problem does he face?
Answer : The traveller finds himself at the divergence (going in different direction of a path into two directions in a forest during the autumn season. He faces the problem that he cannot decide which path to take to continue his journey, because it is not possible for him to travel in both directions at the same time.
- Discuss what these phrases mean to you.
- a yellow wood
- it was grassy and wanted wear
- the passing there
- leaves no step had trodden black
- how way leads on to way
(i) ‘Yellow wood’ means the autumn season. Autumn corresponds with old age. The poet could be symbolically talking about the later stages of life.
(ii) This indicates that the path was overgrown with grass and had not been used; thus, it was not worn out or was used less frequently.
(iii) The path is used by individuals passing through the forest.
(iv) The leaves had not turned black as a result of only a few people trampling on them. This could represent a path one has never/rarely taken in life out of fear of the unknown.
(v) This refers to the fact that certain choices made in life can pave the way for numerous subsequent choices.
2. Is there any difference between the two roads as the poet describes them
- in stanzas two and three?
- in the last two lines of the poem?
In stanza two, the poet explains that the only distinction between the two roads/paths is that the road he took had the right to be chosen (the superior claim) because it was covered in grass and appeared to be infrequently used.
- However, he states at the end of the stanza that both roads had been worn down almost equally by people walking on chem. However, in stanza three, he claims that both roads were equally covered in leaves that morning and that no one had stepped on them.
- However, in the poem’s final two lines, the poet states (probably many years after the poem’s first mention) that there was a distinction between the two roads, as he took the less travelled route and char made all the difference to his journey.
3. What do you think the last two lines of the poem mean? (Looking back, does the poet regret his choice or accept it?)
Answer : The poem’s final two lines denote acceptance of reality. The poet made a decision and chose the difficult path. In his life, he took an uncharted path. He desired to make a difference in his life and thus chose the less travelled path. No, he has no regrets about his decision.