Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - A Stop for Death
Everyone feels burdened by life at some point. Everyone wishes they could just close their eyes and make all the problems and struggles of life disappear. Some see death as a release from the chains and ropes with which the trials and tribulations of life bind the human race. Death is a powerful theme in literature, symbolized in a plethora of ways. In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Eve" Robert Frost uses subtle imagery, symbolism, rhythm and rhyme to invoke the yearning for death that the weary traveler of life feels.
When the speaker in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Eve" pauses for a moment's rest, he does not do so on a simple evening, but on the "darkest evening of the year," the winter solstice (474). The winter solstice is the day marking the beginning of winter, when the sun is the sky for the shortest time, and the night is longest. Night, with its darkness and shadows, is a classic symbol of death. On the winter solstice, Death can be considered his strongest, for his time, the night, is the longest it will ever be during the year. Everything about the winter solstice heralds death; the long night strengthens the power of Death, and the season marked by this solstice, winter, is also symbolic of death.
Winter is a time of cold, when forests die and animals hide from the shrieking winds and biting cold. Winter is a time for survival against the odds. How apt that the speaker is struggling against the "lovely, dark and deep" woods to remember that he has "miles to go before [he] sleep[s]." The "easy wind" calls to him, and the "downy flake" beckons him to a comfortable sleep. If the speaker had paused on a bright summer day, the sleep might be just a short rest, but the poem is set on the "darkest evening of the year" while the "woods fill up with snow," and any rest taken in the "lovely, dark and deep" woods would...