There’s something about this line that feels JUST out of reach of my understanding. The gold ring, I think I get. If it’s not good gold, it’d crack if you make a ring out of it. And Hamlet’s hoping this kid’s voice hasn’t changed yet – that he’s not cracking when he speaks. But what about the ring? His voice cracks in the ring?
All I can think about is how ring was sometimes euphemism for the vagina – in which case, (case, ha! Case is also a euphemism!) Is the idea that if this kid’s lost his virginity, it would make his voice change? Or as he’s getting busy, his voice changes? I’d think one’s voice change would precede the ability to wear the ring, as it were. But whatever it is, it’s all a bit of a stretch.
Potential thesis: What does the literature of the time tell us about boys’ puberty? How do other writers talk about it? What was thought to happen when?