The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0041 Thursday, 16 February 2006
Date: Thursday, 16 Feb 2006 10:10:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: A Wedding Ring Question
Upon reviewing the wedding service in the 1559 Book of Common Prayer, I
find the groom bestowing upon the bride a ring with the pledge "with my
body I thee worship." But nowhere do I find in the service that the
groom himself receives a ring. So, in relation to The Merchant of
Venice, where does the idea arise that newly-married men have rings that
signify their wedded states? The vulgarity of Gratiano's concluding
lines seems intensified if "Nerissa's ring" is only her genitals and not
a ring-jewel that signifies legal marriage bonds.
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