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.