Many people often associate wedding rings as a symbol of marriage. The wedding band is the oldest and most universal symbol. According to Barbaro Jo Chesser, “From the earliest times, the ring has symbolized the highest form of trust and power. The ring formed a seal… seal meant the highest friendship. The ring’s circle shape symbolizes never-ending love… brides and grooms claim this promise by giving rings to each other.” (Chesser 205) Because rings are associated with being married, someone who isn’t wearing a ring on their left ‘ring finger’ can be classified as single. Throughout most of the novel Mrs. Dalloway, the readers get familiarized with Septimus postwar. We see him dealing with Shell Shock, what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress- Disorder (PTSD). PTSD was commonly associated with postwar veterans. All through the novel, one can see the external factors that caused Septimus to feel disconnected from reality. External factors are the ones beyond one’s control. One external factor that caused him to feel disconnect was his wife, Lucrezia. Septimius demonstrated the effects of post-war and how it can drastically change one’s outlook on life. It was tough for Septimius to express his situation. Woolf proves that even his wife Lucrezia doesn’t fully understand or empathize with him. It was hard for people who weren’t in the war to understand what these soldiers were suffering from. It was hard for Rezia to watch her husband suffer, however, there was no way for her to truly resonate with his feelings because she had not physically been to war. Septimius suffered tremendously, trying to live his daily life. While dealing with shell shock, Septimus noticed that his wife was not wearing her wedding ring on. His emotions were described as “terrified”, terrified that he has “lost his wife”. Therefore, this shows the disconnect he had not just with reality but also with his wife after the war. Septimus wife, Lucrezia was his stability and supposedly helping him cope. Because she chose to take her ring off, it emphasizes her loss of hope in their marriage. Knowing the significance of a wedding ring, we can have a better understanding of the reasons why Septimus kills himself.
The British Library. (2018). Jewish marriage-ring. [online] Available at: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/jewish-marriage-ring [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
Chesser, Barbara Jo. “Analysis of Wedding Rituals: An Attempt to Make Weddings More Meaningful.” Family Relations, vol. 29, no. 2, 1980, pp. 204–209. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/584073.