Kent's Confusion


On the Third Stanza of Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn", Kent

Literary Criticism--EL312

Our first class meeting (When Dr. Jerz sensed that we were having a too much of a good time and he said that he could "change that") we discussed this poem and I read the three stanza. I remember how confused I was. I think Kent was in the same boat as myself. He stated that we needed a closer scrutiny. He goes all over the place by at first stating that "the reader begins to think that the poet protests too much." WHAT?! Why does that matter, I know that it is Kent's critical take on this, but I don't think that the reader thoughts matter if you are merely looking at why John Keats writes how he writes.

Next, Kent states that the stanza seems a little bit to happy. That most likely could be sarcastic, like when we established that Vanessa Kolberg had mastered that quality (just kidding). The repetition in the third stanza seems to water down the happiness which means that Keats probably meant it to be the opposite. It is like Christmas commercials, they announce it so much that when it finally comes it is not that exciting.

Finally, the structure of all of the sentences is well...incomplete. Is it that Keats wanted it open for interpretation, did he want us to see incomplete thoughts, or was this stanza just incomplete? We may never know...but what we can find out is how the third stanza disrupted the balance of the other stanzas, or in Kent's words, "the third stanza occupies a pivotal position in the ode's entire dramatic trajectory."


Haha thanks Kevin. At least I've mastered something...

Honestly, I've never paid that much attention to the third stanza...and perhaps I should have. So much debate has occured over the last stanza, and the last few lines especially, that the third stanza seems to take a backseat when I critically look at this poem. This article just shows me that all aspects of the poem are important...not just the main meaning or lines.

I think that Vanessa is right about what multiple people focus on in Keats's essay. The last stanza is always the most influential because of the Beauty = Truth bit. The entire poem is a questioning of the validity of immortality and the thoughts of life after death. I believe that the third stanza does create a dynamic change to close out the rest of the poem. As for Kevin's thoughts on the Kent essay, I think that you cover many good points, but the one thing that stuck out to me is that statement "We may never know." Kevin, we WILL never know! It was meant for contemplation, and I think that because there is not a definitive answer, that the complexity makes the poem so great.