After watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, I was intrigued by his generosity. Yes, he enjoys the thrill of stealing from nobles, yet he does keep the profits he steals but rather shares it with his community. The character Robin Hood has been mentioned in numerous movies and television shows, usually dressed in green wielding a bow and arrow, yet what do we really know about the character?
Robin Hood was the legendary bandit of England, who stole from the rich to give back to the poor. People admired the character because he wasn’t afraid to oppose those in power. After hearing of his noble adventures, many wondered if the man was real or just a myth, offering those struggling against positions of power hope that things would get better.
Origins of Robin Hood
The earliest account of Robin Hood is in William Langland’s novel. Piers Plowman (1377), in which other characters make notable references to the legend of Robin Hood already existing from the late 1300s.
A lot of stories of Robin’s life and adventures are associated with infamous locations in northern England during the 1940s. Both Yorkshire and Sherwood Forest were prime locations Robin Hood was known to visit.
Yorkshire was formally known as a historic country of Northern England and is commonly used in the military. Many acres of the countryside have been left untouched earning the nickname God’s Country.
Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire is more notable associated with Robin Hood than Yorkshire. The Sheriff of Nottingham is believed to be Robin Hood’s adversary, trying to arrest him for stealing from the rich.
Recorded Tales of Robin Hood
Ballads were sung of Robin Hood and his fight against social injustice, surging in popularity when kings prevented ordinary citizens from hunting in the forests they owned, thus triggering citizens to rebel against nobility, known as the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.
By the 1500s, those sharing the legend of Robin Hood believed him to have an accompaniment of merry men and a girlfriend named Maid Marian. It changed again in the 1700s, scholars tried to link Robin Hood to a nobleman or outlaws that opposed social injustice. In the 1800s, other storytellers linked Robin with the reigns of King Henry, the I.
Robin Hood Depicted in Media
The legend of Robin Hood has been depicted in countless films, such as The Bandit of Sherwood, Robin Hood: Robin Hood: Men in Tights, with the character being produced by Disney in an animated feature, plus the live-action television series Once Upon a Time. Over the years, many adaptions of the character have been made, yet they all share the same heroic tale of the green archer bandit.
Personal Belief of Robin Hood
I like the idea that folk lore captured the myth of a person as selfless as Robin Hood, but there’s not enough evidence to support whether he was real. Like most beloved characters in stories, the identity of the character was inspired by those around them.
Furthermore, many people are familiar with the green bandit using his wits, charm, and companions to outsmart the rich to steal from them to give back to those in poverty. His thrill-seeking adventures are envied by those too scared to challenge social politics.