"The Road Not Taken" centers on the concept of choice. The path that the speaker is walking on is splitting in two directions, and he has to decide which way to go. This path is not just in the woods, but also represents a decision in his life. Something in his life is changing, forcing him to make a choice. Yet he has a really hard time deciding – one moment, he thinks one way is better, the next, both paths are about the same. Whether or not he has a reason why the choice he makes is better, he has to make it. And that choice changes his life.
Despite what the speaker's memory tells him later, the roads in this poem are equally traveled, making the speaker's choice more difficult.
The speaker is purposefully ambiguous about whether or not he's happy with his choice.
Choices, like the choice "The Road Not Taken," are linked to the future. The speaker of this poem realizes that his choice of path will change his life. But the tricky part about the nature of the future is that the speaker won't know how his decision will change his life until it has already changed it. The speaker thinks of his lost opportunities as his choice takes him into one future and leaves another behind.
The speaker of this poem will only know whether or not he made the right decision a long time in the future.
The speaker of this poem is not unhappy with his choice, but will always wonder where the other path, the road not taken, would have led him.
Throughout "The Road Not Taken," nature is used as a metaphor for the life of the speaker. The speaker contextualizes a major decision by writing about it as if it were something he encountered while walking in a forest in the fall. This metaphor helps us wrap our minds around the complexities of a choice that will decide his future.
The speaker would prefer to take a path that would keep him closer to nature, and farther away from other people.
Our speaker is out in the woods without a map, and he doesn't know which path to take. But instead of turning tail and running back to where he came from, he chooses a path and forges on, willing to face whatever challenges that path may lead him to. He is attracted to a path that might be less traveled, which suggests that he likes to go where few people have gone before. "The Road Not Taken" embraces exploration, suggesting that the only way to see what's beyond the bend in the road is to keep walking.
Even if both roads seem worn about the same, the speaker tries to take the one less traveled.
The speaker chooses to take the path that he does because it's different from what he originally planned on doing.