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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
A Wedding Ring Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0110  Friday, 3 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 02 Mar 2006 20:01:42 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0086 A Wedding Ring Question

[2] 	From: 	JD Markel <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 2 Mar 2006 12:52:36 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0101 A Wedding Ring Question

[3] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 02 Mar 2006 18:16:23 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0101 A Wedding Ring Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Thursday, 02 Mar 2006 20:01:42 +0000
Subject: 17.0086 A Wedding Ring Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0086 A Wedding Ring Question

Bill Godshalk asks:

 >But should we believe Portia, or is this another deception on her
 >part? Obviously she wants Antonio to feel obligated to her, and what
 >better way than to tell him that his ships have safely come to port?
 >Now he owes her big time. With her apparently limitless wealth,
 >Portia can work out the details later, perhaps buy him three new
 >ship with cargo.

Sounds plausible to me, Bill. What I offered was a sunny Christian 
anagogic reading without shadows. The shadows, of course, include 
Shylock's alienation and forced conversion, Portia's racist hypocrisy 
and unpracticed preachments, Jessica's desertion, and the confiscation 
of Shylock's manna to nourish and endow Gentile prodigality. Who knows 
how many Shylocks may have been despoiled to form Portia's own 
patrimony? Such shadows have been addressed in earlier threads, myself 
among the spinners.

But on an anagogic level, ALL subplots involve the hazard-ridden 
breaking of old and the forming of new bonds. These intricately 
interwoven subplots always move from the Old (Testament) life of World, 
Flesh, and Law to the New (Testament) life of Christian Spirit, Grace, 
and Lawless Love.

The World of Flesh includes the marriage state itself, even for Portia 
in her role as Holy Magus. Bassanio and Antonio, by breaking Paulinist 
Portia's ring Commandment and imperiling the marriage, have in fact 
passed her test through their generosity of Spirit. I believe, like 
others before me, Shylock originally intended the interest-free loan as 
leverage -- in Portia's words, "vantage to exclaim" on Antonio with an 
eye perhaps to forgive, if necessary, the debt publicly and strangely, 
exactly as the Duke later hoped. Jessica's desertion to the Christians, 
however, so unhinges Shylock as to render his intent now murder, forcing 
Portia and Antonio to mercify and Christianize him. One more Soul 
brought safely, if unwillingly, to Rood.

Joe Egert

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		JD Markel <
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Date: 		Thursday, 2 Mar 2006 12:52:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 17.0101 A Wedding Ring Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0101 A Wedding Ring Question

There is no double ring exchange in M - O - V

The gifting is only one direction

If Peggy Sue sprung a ring on Bobby Lee

Asking for his hand on bended knee
Such dissonance is not solved by law or equity

But in performances quite fey and ca-a-mpy

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <
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Date: 		Thursday, 02 Mar 2006 18:16:23 -0500
Subject: 17.0101 A Wedding Ring Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0101 A Wedding Ring Question

Bob Linn <
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 >

  >Joe Egert says, "Clearly she [Portia] is somehow mystically involved in
 >bringing Antonio's three lost ships home 'safely to road.'" How is Portia
 >"mystically involved" in bringing the ships in?  I always thought that
 >she was just reporting the good news.

That is right as far as the literal action of the play goes, and yet, 
and yet, and yet....

Somebody (Tolkien, perhaps?) remarks that Shakespeare should have had 
the courage to make Paulina a fairy, and C. S. Lewis has a poem, 
"Hermione in the House of Paulina", to much the same effect. There is 
something of that same flavor to be found in "Merchant" V.

John Briggs <
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 >

 >With the 1543 Sarum Manual (also reprinted in the Douai editions of
 >1604 and 1610-11):
 >
 >... et manu sua sinistra tenens deteram sponsae, docente Sacerdote,
 >dicat: "With this rynge I the wed, and this gold and siluer I the geue,
 >and with my bodi I the worshipe, and with all my worldly catel I thee
 >endowe."  Et tunc inserat sponsus annulum pollici sponsae dicens, "In
 >nomine  Patris": deinde secundo digito dicens, "Et Filii": deinde tertio
 >digito dicens, "Et Spiritus Sancti": deinde quarto digito dicens, "Amen".

The "gold and siluer" is also in the first, 1549, Book of Common Prayer. 
Cranmer's changes to Matrimony were quite conservative, as there were no 
doctrinal issues, and the service, of necessity, had always employed the 
vernacular. (In my capacity as a Renaissance-faire actor, I once 
actually presided over the 1549 rite for a couple who had already 
undergone a private civil ceremony.)

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