When comparing Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” to Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” it seems that there are plenty of obvious similarities that are on the surface and there are subtle differences that one can find when they truly look deep into the meanings of things. In both poems the speaker is putting all meaning into what they are seeing. The speaker in “The Road Not Taken” is viewing what is in front of him, ready to make an important decision in his life. He is viewing the roads as a paramount decision to make in his life.
In “The Raven” the speaker is watching the raven that has enters his room, giving it major importance in what he is going through. In both poems the objects that lay in front of the speakers are devices, they are metaphors given the utmost importance. Both speakers are haunted by what has happened in their life and what could happen based on the decisions that lie in front of them. The overall tone is the difference in Robert Frost to Edgar Allan Poe. You can look at any poem that either author has written and see this.
Robert Frost dealt with the trials and tribulations that life throws our way, just as Poe did. At times Frost is dark and cynical about life, but overall he is an optimist and still sees beauty in life. Poe is the antithesis of this. Poe is inherently dark and gloomy in his work. In “The Road Not Taken” Frost’s speaker is given a choice. He’s at a fork in the road in his life. He’s seen the path he normally takes, it’s safe, but has not made him as happy as he wants to be in life. The other road is dangerous.
It comes with many risks and potential pitfalls, but he feels ready to take on this challenge now. He understands this road won’t be easy, but believes that anything worth having must have hardships along the way. Life and taken the safe road has taught him this. It is an optimistic tone and feeling that you have once you’re done with reading it. In “The Raven” it is decidedly different. The speaker has lost his love. The raven enters his room tormenting him, uttering only “Nevermore” when the speaker asks about his lost love. The speaker goes mad by wallowing in his own pity and grief.
By the end of “The Raven” there is no resolution. I believe that the raven was death himself sent to take the life of the speaker. The speaker could no longer live without his love, Lenore. Distraught with grief he dies. Poe and Frost have their speakers in very similar circumstances. With no pun intended, they are at a crossroads in their lives. Poe’s speakers succumbs to his grief and sorrow. He never saw a way out. Frost’s speaker is full of regret and grief, but he still sees hope that he can live a good life, as long as he takes the road not taken.