In Robert Frost’s poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ Why was the narrator not able to stand there for long? What promises do you think the speaker has to keep?
The speaker or narrator had to leave the place before long as he had other duties to perform (promises to keep). He wanted to enjoy the natural beauty of the woods but couldn’t.
No one can be certain about what the promises are and whether those are big promises or small domestic ones. The promises, if taken literally, may be something like “I’ll be back for dinner soon.” or “I’ll take care of you.”
A different analysis says, the speaker may work under his master and has to reach the destination in time to keep his job secured.
But in the allegorical meaning of the poem, ‘promises’ signifies far beyond that. It may refer to the duties or responsibilities we have got in this life. We must fulfill those before we sleep, i.e., before we die.
The promises here are the commitments of the poet as a poet in the society.
The poet’s promises were that commitment he had made in his journey of his life before the sleep (sleep is here the metaphor for death).
The narrator has many milestones to achieve, and many tasks to complete
The promises are the duties and responsibilities of life.