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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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 584

1. In his preface, Pyle admits to dressing "good, sober folks of real history" in "gay colors and motley" so that "you would not know them but for the names tagged to them." Among those whom Pyle so disguises are King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Richard the Lion-Hearted. Choose one of these English monarchs and read a reliable biographical source concerning him or her. Write a report in which you discuss the ways Pyle deviates from or follows the facts known about Henry, Eleanor, or Richard.

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2. The Robin Hood ballads were collected in the eighteenth century by Joseph Ritson (Robin Hood: A Collection of All the Ancient Poems, Songs, and Ballads, 1795). If your community library has an edition of this book, read one of the original ballads and write a report in which you discuss the differences between the ballad and Pyle's version. How does Pyle adapt the original ballads to fit them into The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood?

3. After Little John is bested by the Tanner of Blyth, Robin is beaten by his own nephew, Will Scarlet. This beating is a just punishment for Robin's failure to see what Will Scarlet is really like rather than what he merely appears to be. In short, Robin is deceived by appearances. This failure to see the reality beneath appearances is repeated in other situations throughout Pyle's Robin Hood. Which other characters in this work likewise fall to detect reality beneath appearances, and what are the consequences of their failures of vision?

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4. In the episode concerning the marriage of Allan a Dale, Robin agrees to help the two lovers because he hates to see a rich older man, Sir Stephen of Trent, force himself on a young woman of lower social station. Another reason for Robin's becoming involved is that Sir Stephen is a Norman, and young Ellen is a Saxon like Robin himself. The Norman conquest of Britain took place in 1066, but the tensions between the Norman conquerors and the conquered Saxons persisted for centuries. Read at least one good source concerning the Norman invasion of England and write a report providing background information for the antagonism felt by Saxons for Normans in Robin Hood's day.

5. Robin Hood and his merry men frequently don disguises and change roles. For what reasons do they most often change identities? Which episodes involving such changes do you find the most entertaining? Most thematically significant?

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Latest answer posted November 12, 2013, 11:16 am (UTC)

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6. Sir Richard of the Lea's son is exiled in Palestine, fighting "for the cross and the holy sepulchre." In other words, he is fighting in the Crusades. Write a report providing background on the English role in the Crusades.

7. Richard the Lion-Hearted is said to have had adventures "as stirring as any that ever befell Robin Hood." After reading at least one reliable source, write a report on Richard's most stirring adventures.

8. Pyle's prose is studded with metaphors and similes. For example, in one place Robin's heart is described as being "as free from care as the yolk of an egg is from cobwebs." Select those figures of speech most to your liking and indicate how they contribute to the passages in which they appear.

9. Contrast the way Robin Hood treats Sir Richard of the Lea in Sherwood with the way that knight is treated by the Prior of Emmet. More specifically, contrast the way that Sir Richard is received in Sherwood and at the Priory; the two banquets held while he is present; and his departure from each of these places.

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