Stopping by woods on a snowy evening is perhaps the most well known poem by ROBERT FROST ; in fact, this is the single poem through which FROST is known to many . This poem is suggestive of profound thoughts and utterances about human life and death, the great leveler.
The poem opens with the speaker standing in the woods. The scene and means employed to portray it, call our attention. Across the road from the woods that the speaker is passing through, there is a frozen lake. Houses are beyond the vision of the speaker and the quietness marks the scene. It is snowing heavily and the speaker can hear the soft and almost inaudible sound made by wind and the soft snow-flakes falling in the woods.
The dark woods perhaps symbolize the dark, impenetrable, unfathomable mystery of life, and snow as usual symbolizes the cold destructive force called death. It is as though the speaker was literally caught in the woods on a snowy evening and on another level, he is caught in a moment of time, arresting all his powers to finds an answer to the mystery of life. The only plausible answer, the ultimate reality, to him as to philosophers and thinkers of all time is time is Death- an absolute power, of which man has a strange fascination and an inexplicable horror at the same time.
The horse here also stands for rustic common sense sans any feelings, emotions and provocations of nature. It is the horse that sets us thinking as to why the man stopped there in the midst of the jungle, far from the essential amenities required for maintenances of human life. And to it all, on an evening which is the darkest of the year. The speaker in the poem imagines the horse to be asking what possibly could make him stop there. What is there to stop for, out in the cold, away from bin and stall and all that any self-respecting beast could value on such a night.
The horse shakes his harness bells. He seems to ask if there is anything wrong. The...