illustration of Robin Hood standing in the forest with his bow in one hand

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

by Howard Pyle

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In chapter 1 of part 5 Richard of the Lea recounts his plight to Robin and his band after they stop him on the road. What parts of Richard’s story work best to convince readers that he and his family have been wronged? How does Richard’s story help readers understand the corruption of the Church in the novel?

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During a joust, Richard of the Lea's son killed Sir Walter of Lancaster. A splinter of his son's lance pierced Sir Walter's visor and went through his eye to his brain. Because Sir Walter had powerful friends at court, his relatives felt they could safely go after Richard of the Lea, apparently accusing the son of murder. To protect his son from prison, Richard has to pay a ransom of six hundred pounds. To raise needed money, he pawns his lands to the Priory of Emmett, which, knowing Richard's desperate situation, drives a hard bargain. He still owes this religious house four hundred pounds.

The story of his son being persecuted after accidentally killing Sir Walter raises our sympathies. We also feel for Richard because he is concerned for his wife's suffering in the event that he loses his lands.

We see the corruption of the Church in its willingness to take advantage of a man who desperately needs money to defend his son. It seems the Church, if not corrupt, would refrain from driving a hard bargain with a person in such a vulnerable situation. A purer church would perhaps give Richard money for his son rather than put him in a position where he might have to forfeit his estate to them.

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