What Literary Devices Are Used in “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost?

Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” employs several literary devices, such as epiphany, antithesis, personification and symbolism. These literary devices help readers to understand the different nuances of the poem.

According to the website Reference, epiphany is when a character has a burst of insight that lays their choices and consequences bare. In “The Road Not Taken,” the character’s epiphany occurs when he realizes that by taking the road he took, his life has changed: “And that has made all the difference.”

This poem also employs symbolism, which is when an object or idea represents something else. In this poem, the fork in the path symbolizes or represents choices people make in life, and the path chosen is the result of those choices and the ensuing lifelong journey.

Robert Frost also utilizes personification, giving the path an almost human characteristic. According to Poetry Pages, the path is described as “grassy and wanted wear.” The “wanted” is a uniquely human characteristic and thus personifies the path, giving it desires.

Finally, Poetry Pages points out antithesis in poem, a literary device in which opposition and contrast is expressed. The antithesis here is when the narrator expresses a desire to travel both paths, a physical and figurative impossibility.