All's Well that Ends Well

Bertram’s Ring Symbol Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Bertram’s Ring Symbol Icon
Bertram has an ancestral ring that has been passed down through his family for generations. As one of the conditions he gives Helen for making him truly her husband, he tells her that she will have to get this ring from him, thinking this task impossible. But he ends up giving this precious ring to Diana in order to woo her, unwittingly putting the ring into Helen’s hands. Bertram’s ring is a token of romantic affection and therefore a sign of fidelity or infidelity. In Diana’s possession, the ring apparently proves that he has been unfaithful to Helen and has seduced Diana. In Helen’s possession, the ring is proof that Bertram has actually been (unintentionally) faithful and slept with his wife. Additionally, through this ring, the reversal of typical gender roles in Helen and Bertram’s relationship is made clear. Diana compares her valuable chastity to Bertram’s precious ring, and indeed his ring can be seen as a symbol of a male form of chastity that Bertram does not want Helen to violate. Helen assumes the typically male role of trying to seduce her partner into sex and trying to take Bertram’s ring just as a male suitor might try to “take” a woman’s virginity from her. Because Bertram’s ring is a family heirloom, it is also an important symbol of Bertram’s noble heritage and high status in the social hierarchy as a count. The ring can be seen as representing Bertram’s nobility itself—the prize Helen gets by marrying him (and thus marrying into a higher social class).

Bertram’s Ring Quotes in All's Well that Ends Well

The All's Well that Ends Well quotes below all refer to the symbol of Bertram’s Ring. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of All's Well that Ends Well published in 2006.
Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then call me husband. But in such a “then” I write a “never.”

Related Characters: Bertram (speaker), Helen
Related Symbols: Bertram’s Ring
Page Number: 3.2.58-62
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim i

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Du

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other All's Well that Ends Well quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Act 3, Scene 7 Quotes

Helen:
The Count he woos your daughter;
Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
Resolved to carry her. Let her in fine consent
As we’ll direct her how ‘tis best to bear it.
Now his important blood will naught deny
That she’ll demand. A ring the County wears
That downward hath succeeded in his house
From son to son some four or five descents
Since the first father wore it. This ring he holds
In most rich choice. Yet, in his idle fire,
To buy his will it would not seem too dear,
Howe’er repented after.

Widow:
Now I see the bottom of your purpose.

Helen:
You see it lawful, then. It is no more
But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
Desires this ring, appoints him an encounter,
In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
Herself most chastely absent.

Related Characters: Helen (speaker), The Widow (speaker), Bertram, Diana
Related Symbols: Bertram’s Ring
Page Number: 3.7.20-38
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in cu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fug

Act 4, Scene 2 Quotes

Mine honor’s such a ring.
My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors,
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the’ world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honor on my part
Against your vain assault.

Related Characters: Diana (speaker), Bertram
Related Symbols: Bertram’s Ring
Page Number: 4.2.55-61
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culp

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire All's Well that Ends Well LitChart as a printable PDF.
All s well that ends well.pdf.medium

Bertram’s Ring Symbol Timeline in All's Well that Ends Well

The timeline below shows where the symbol Bertram’s Ring appears in All's Well that Ends Well. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 3, Scene 2
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
...he says that he will never consider himself her husband until she has gotten a ring of his off his finger and is bearing his child. He says that this will... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
...advances and to agree to sleep with him if he will give her an ancestral ring that he wears on his finger. Then, at night, Helen will take Diana’s place in... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Diana asks Bertram to give her a ring he is wearing, but he says he cannot, as it is “an honor . .... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
...slept with many soldiers), and Diana says that he is lying. She produces his ancestral ring as proof of their union. The countess recognizes the ring and, seeing it as definitive... (full context)