Men, in their betrothals, utter words referring to the present time, which, although they resemble marriages, are only betrothals.
In order to understand the historical impact of this particular marital contract fully, my intention is fourfold: to assess the motivation for arranging the marriage; to consider the legal and canonical nature of this betrothal and its significance; to explore the reasons why Infante Sancho chose to violate the contract; and to analyze and evaluate the unfortunate and prolonged political chaos that ensued due to Sancho's actions.
This matrimonial charter, affirmed on 16 September 1256, became the foundational accord that subsequently led to the 1270 formal betrothal of Infante Sancho and Dona Guillerma.
Moreover, the importance of parental consent of betrothal
and marriage, eliminated after Trent, was now reintroduced.
That so many different tribunals heard cases involving broken betrothals is a clear demonstration of the difficulties in regulating behavior which involved both a secular and legal contract as well as a sacramental ritual.
However, for centuries before Trent ecclesiastical authorities had hotly debated whether the marriage promise had to take place in the present tense, palabras de presente, or in the future tense, palabras del futuro (a betrothal followed by legitimization of the promise by a priest).
In addition to emphasizing the role of the parish priest, the Catholic Reformation Church also attempted to emphasize the place of the verbal promise of marriage over the physical consummation by promoting a tripartite marriage process which emphasized the role of palabras del futuro (constituting a betrothal), followed later by palabras del presente (a marriage promise best exchanged in public and before a priest), followed by sexual intercourse.
They cite other contemporary contexts in which mouth-stopping is virtually a synonym for kissing and also urge the parallel of Hero's betrothal
; `stop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak neither' (II.i.292).
The betrothals now executed in what is represented as "proper" form -- that is, the bride consents to a match arranged by another in the presence of family and friends at home -- the play should end.
Certainly the play needs to stage the betrothals twice because it gets it "wrong" the first time.
Namely, the halachah traditionally extended to orphan girls under twelve a right known as "refusal" (me'un), allowing them to dissolve not just an engagement but a full betrothal unilaterally, and without the need for a formal bill of divorce.(40) In the Renaissance, the term metaphorically began to be applied to engagements as well as betrothals, and the age limit in the case of the former had begun to blur.(41) Adolescent girls older than twelve, orphaned or not, were claiming--and winning--the right to terminate engagements just by saying: they "refused" (mema'enet).(42)
Indeed, Jews pressed their sacral institutions into the service of this lay goal (however much medieval and early modern Jews would have rightly insisted in their own terms that lay and sacral norms were identical) by insisting through local ordinances that betrothals and weddings take place before a quorum of ten men, the so-called minyan required for communal prayer.