A ring is a circular band of precious metal or other material worn around the finger. It can also be worn on toes and through the nose (see earring). Rings are used as decorative ornaments, for protection or healing, and as symbols of status and fidelity or love. They can carry significant meaning depending on culture and religion.
Rings are found throughout the history of civilizations. Among early rings, the signet ring was a common design feature, used to authenticate documents by a person’s seal. It was commonly engraved with the name or title of the owner in hieroglyphics. Later, it became a symbol of wealth and social status. It can also be used as a talisman to protect against evil spirits.
In mathematics, a ring is an algebraic structure equipped with two binary operations that satisfy properties similar to addition and multiplication of integers. It can be composed of numbers, but it may also contain non-numerical objects such as polynomials, square matrices, functions, and power series. It may have finite or infinite number of elements and can be oriented either clockwise or counter-clockwise.
When used as a symbol of fidelity or love, rings are worn on the left hand in most Western cultures. This has long been a customary way to show commitment and is an important part of engagement and wedding ceremonies. Historically, however, other hands have been worn with rings as well. This is partly due to cultural beliefs, but it has also been a matter of convenience, practicality, and the availability of more suitable materials.
For example, rings were popular on the right hand in Ancient Egypt and Rome, where they were used as talismans to keep away bad spirits and to protect against poisons. The Romans also favored rings made of carnelian or agate, as these were believed to provide health and happiness. These are still popular as fashion statements today.
The ring is also used as an allegory in literature. It symbolizes a cycle or pattern, which is often seen as a metaphor for life itself. This is especially true for romance novels, where the ring is used as a symbol of love and commitment.
Lastly, the ring can be a symbol of power or powerlessness, depending on its context and the meaning attached to it. A ring is often used to indicate that a person has achieved success and is no longer struggling, or conversely, it can be worn as a mark of incompetence and lack of achievement.
The ring is an important concept for understanding the structures of stories, whether they are movies, books, or other forms of media. This is because it is a circular structure that has a midpoint that serves as an insight that helps the hero solve their problem. This is in contrast to traditional story structure, which requires that the hero be in a tough situation before the climax. The ring provides a solution to this conflict by using its circular nature and midpoint to guide the story to a satisfying ending.