Analysis Pages

Literary Devices in The Road Not Taken

Rhyme: “The Road Not Taken” uses a variation on the most common rhyme scheme. Rather than following the typical ABAB scheme, the poem, with its five-line stanzas, uses an ABAAB scheme. The unexpected lingering on the a-rhyme in the fourth line evokes a feeling of hesitancy and indecision that conveys the poem’s central theme.

Meter: “The Road Not Taken” follows a loose iambic tetrameter, a meter built upon four-beat lines with a rhythmic alternation of unstressed and stressed syllables. Tetrameter is the meter of ballads and thus provides Frost’s poem with a narrative, journeying feeling that suits its subject. Pay attention to the metrical substitutions Frost makes—nearly every line contains an extra unstressed syllable, which creates a more natural, conversational tone throughout the poem.

Literary Devices Examples in The Road Not Taken:

The Road Not Taken

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"Two roads diverged..."   (The Road Not Taken)

“The Road Not Taken” employs iambic tetrameter, a metrical scheme that features four beats to the line. This meter gives the poem a sense of propulsion and forward movement, fitting for a poem about a traveler. The rhyme scheme in each of the four stanzas is ABAAB. The third A rhyme, which causes each stanza to lag by one line, gives the poem a sense of deliberation. These moment of hesitation before the resolution of each stanza represent the speaker’s hesitation in choosing a road.

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