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Robin Hood: Outlaw or Hero - Research Paper Example

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There is an obscure legend around the name of Robin Hood. His real identity is hidden beyond the events of a figurative language of the legends (Tennyson, 1982). There are various ideas about this legendary figure in “In Robin Hood: A Complete Study of the English Outlaw” the book by Stephen Knight (Dyer, 1950). The author shows different representations of this legendary or historical figure and various attitudes to him through the centuries. In 12-13th centuries the image of Robin Hood was considered in the outlaw context. In 14th century he was more appraised as a hero in different plays and ballads. Robin Hood is an exemplification and reflection of economic conflict in England during the middle ages. Peasant-labor relations were new during that period and there was a new role for the new members of the society. There is a new emerging class of freedmen, who are able to sell their work and services to their ex-feudal. Robin Hood was considered very often in the outlaw context and at the same time there are evident heroic features in this legendary character. He was able to help poor people taking money from the rich people. Still, he did not consider his actions to be destructing or illegal. He thought he was right and poor people loved him for his confidence, open-heartedness and bravery. We can see that this character is a prototype of a wrongly persecuted free man. He was focused on the needs of people from his class and he managed to become the most favorite character of tales and legends. Different authors of the plays and poems, where Robin Hood is the main character, represent him from different points of view. Thus, Derek Pearsall claims that it is possible to consider the nature of this 'good outlaw' in relation to his brutal actions, which are compatible with the cruel context of the middle ages (Keen, 1961). We can claim that the contemporaries consider Robin Hood to be rather a hero than an outlaw, because on the basis of different works, the most noticeable and positive features of this legendary character are related to his heroic actions and deeds. For example, Keats in his poems correlates this main character with his political justice. He is positioned as a defiant hero. One of the most influential stories about Robin Hood was written by Joseph Ritson. Its title is "Life of Robin Hood" (Robin Hood: Medieval and Post-Medieval, 2005). Heroism and revolutionary actions were highly acclaimed by this author and starting from the eighteenth century Robin Hood was more a hero than the outlaw. Ritson describes his main character as the one, “who maintained a sort of independent sovereignty, and set kings, judges, and magistrates, at defiance," who "took away the goods of rich men only . . . nor ever took any thing from the poor, but charitably fed them with the wealth he drew from abbots” (Mitchell 1994, p. 760). Therefore, heroism of Robin Hood is correlated with his ability to show his freedom on the background of the political tyranny; by his ability to remain independent and show virtuous acts of freedom and independence in the face the crimes and wrong actions of drunken monks or stupid politicians. Therefore, there is a kind of cultural significance when considering Robin Hood as a hero and not as an outlaw. Even for the contemporaries there is a lack of the ideals, which can be followed. There is often a lack of resisting to the existing order ...Show more
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Summary

Name Subject Date Robin Hood In the middle ages there was a need to rebel in order to survive. In case a hero was an outlaw, he was appraised even more than if he was a law-obedient individual. Robin Hood used to freedom, forests and large territories, which were supposedly under his control…
Robin Hood: Outlaw or Hero
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