The Road Not Taken: Literary Analysis

This has got to be among the best-known, most-often-misunderstood poems on the planet.   Cursed with a perfect marriage of form and content, arresting phrase wrought from simple words, and resonant metaphor, it seems as if “The Road Not Taken” (rpt. in Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine’s Literature:   Structure, Sound and Sense, 10th ed. [Boston:   Wadsworth, 2009] 725) gets memorized without really being read.   For this it has died the cliché’s un-death of trivial immortality.
But you yourself can resurrect it by reading it—not with imagination, even, but simply with accuracy.   Of the two roads the speaker says “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same.”   In fact, both roads “that morning lay / In leaves no step had trodden black.” Meaning:   Neither of the roads is less traveled by.   These are the facts; we cannot justifiably ignore the reverberations they send through the easy aphorisms of the last two stanzas.
One of the attractions of the poem is its archetypal dilemma, one that we instantly recognize because each of us encounters it innumerable times, both literally and figuratively.   Paths in the woods and forks in roads are ancient and deep-seated metaphors for the lifeline, its crises and decisions.   Identical forks, in particular, symbolize for us the nexus of free will and fate:   We are free to choose, but we do not really know beforehand what we are choosing between.   Our route is, thus, determined by an accretion of choice and chance, and it is impossible to separate the two.
“The Road Not Taken” consists of four stanzas of five lines.   The rhyme scheme of the poem is as follows: (1) abaab, (2) cdccd, (3) efeef, (4) ghggh.   All of the end rhymes are strict and masculine; with the notable exception of the last line (we do not usually stress the -ence of difference, line 22.).   There are four stressed syllables per line, varying on an iambic tetrameter base.
In the first stanza, the speaker describes his position.   He has been out...