Topics for Discussion
1. As the prologue indicates, Robin is outlawed when he shoots one of the King's deer on a wager and then kills a forester. Should Robin be outlawed for this? Who is in the wrong—Robin or the forester?
2. Little John tumbles Robin into the stream during their bout with the quarterstaff, and then refuses to accept Robin's invitation to join his band. Why does Little John initially refuse? Why does he change his mind?
3. After he kills the forester, Robin decides to avoid direct confrontations and bloodshed. The narrator remarks that Robin's long reign in the greenwood is directly attributable to this avoidance. What strategies does Robin resort to instead of direct confrontation with his enemies? Cite several specific examples of these strategies as employed by Robin Hood.
4. Robin is always quoting the wise sayings of a certain "Gaffer Swanthold." Which of Gaffer Swanthold's sayings remind you of proverbs currently in use?
5. Why does Robin Hood reprimand Little John for stealing the Sheriff's silver serving pieces and utensils? How does this event differ from Robin's earlier confiscation of the Sheriff's three hundred pounds?
6. Why is Robin Hood delighted to see Little John beaten at a bout of quarterstaff by Arthur a Bland, the Tanner of Blyth?
7. After hearing a tale of one of King Arthur's knights, Robin quotes an aphorism from Gaffer Swanthold: "He who jumps for the moon and gets it not leaps higher than he who stoops for a penny in the mud." Robin thinks that he who leaps for the moon is the more admirable figure, while Will Stutely observes that at least the other gets the penny to buy bread with and is thus better off. With whom do you agree, Robin the idealist or Will Stutely the pragmatist?
8. Even though Robin and his men are outlaws, they profess great loyalty to Henry II, to his queen Eleanor, and to their son, Richard the Lion-Hearted. How would you reconcile this seeming contradiction?
9. Guy of Gisbourne is the second man Robin kills. Robin suffers no remorse this time as he had earlier in his killing of the forester. Why not? What does Guy of Gisbourne's costume reveal about his character?
10. Toward the end of the story, King Richard penetrates the shades of Sherwood and, for the first time, confronts Robin in Robin's own secure domain. How is Richard able to do what no one else has been able to do until that time?