Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem The Divine Comedy begins with the lines “Midway upon the road of our life / I found myself within a dark wood / for the right way had been missed” (in Charles Eliot Norton’s version) – perhaps the best known lines in western literature. Writers and artists often use the allegory of taking the right or wrong road to explore life’s confusions and conundrums.
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.