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).
Without this doctrine, the seducer might attempt to dissolve the betrothal and thereby make the sexual activity between the parties illicit.
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.
With the important exceptions of the trick played upon Phillis and the unilateral financial negotiations by the brides' families, the "ideal pattern" for an early modern betrothal ritual corresponds roughly to the second betrothals performed in The Fair Maid.
Christian parents were avid to void engagements and betrothals made without their prior knowledge, whatever the circumstances, especially clandestinely.
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.