I Will Put Chaos Into Fourteen Lines | Study Guide

Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Course Hero. "I Will Put Chaos Into Fourteen Lines Study Guide." Course Hero. 10 Jan. 2020. Web. 22 Jan. 2022. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Will-Put-Chaos-Into-Fourteen-Lines/>.

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Course Hero. (2020, January 10). I Will Put Chaos Into Fourteen Lines Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Will-Put-Chaos-Into-Fourteen-Lines/

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Course Hero. "I Will Put Chaos Into Fourteen Lines Study Guide." January 10, 2020. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Will-Put-Chaos-Into-Fourteen-Lines/.

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Course Hero, "I Will Put Chaos Into Fourteen Lines Study Guide," January 10, 2020, accessed January 22, 2022, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Will-Put-Chaos-Into-Fourteen-Lines/.

I Will Put Chaos Into Fourteen Lines | Character Analysis

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Speaker

The speaker of the poem is a poet who proudly proclaims her power. She has the ability to capture and subdue Chaos to her will and even to make the chaotic parts of her life into something good. She does this through her ability to write poetry—to express in the orderly 14 lines of a sonnet what is otherwise disordered, arrogant, and destructive. The speaker has had a difficult relationship with Chaos in the past. "He" was arrogant, and she was trapped in "awful servitude" to him. Now all that has changed. She has triumphed and can cause Chaos to merge with the "sweet Order" of her sonnet, a process that transforms Chaos and makes him good.

Chaos

In the poem, Chaos is described as an arrogant, destructive, and even evil force. He is referred to using male pronouns, increasing the triumph when the speaker, a woman, overcomes him and makes him obey her will. The poem depicts Chaos as utterly helpless to escape the confines of the sonnet. The speaker may "let him" escape—if she wants to and if he is lucky. He strains against the lines of the poem and its meter, but he can't break free. In the end, the speaker says, Chaos will be transformed as he is combined with the sonnet's Order to become poetry.

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