Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Before he becomes an outlaw, Robin Hood is the rightful earl of Huntingdon. The times are corrupt, however, and Robin’s father is dispossessed of his estates. Young Robin is driven into Sherwood Forest, where he protests social injustice by organizing a band of outlaws to prey on the rich to give to the poor.
Robin Hood’s career as an outlaw begins when he is on his way to a shooting match in Nottingham. Some of the king’s foresters meet him in Sherwood Forest and mock his youth. One of the foresters wagers that Robin cannot slay a deer, so Robin kills one to win the bet. The penalty for killing one of the king’s stags, however, is death. The foresters give chase, and Robin is forced to hide in the forest. There he meets other landless, hunted men and becomes their leader.
While seeking adventure one day, Robin encounters a tall stranger at a bridge, and the stranger tumbles him into the stream. Robin then calls to his band of merry men, and together they soon overcome the stranger. A shooting match is then held between Robin and the stranger; Robin wins the match, and the stranger good-naturedly acknowledges defeat and joins Robin’s band. The outlaws call him Little John because he is so big.
The Sheriff of Nottingham, angered because Robin Hood flouts the sheriff’s authority, issues a warrant for the outlaw’s arrest. A tinker carries the warrant into the forest, where he meets Robin but fails to recognize the...
(The entire section is 1264 words.)
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