Robin Hood, actually the young earl of Huntingdon, whose father has been wrongly dispossessed of his estates. Robin Hood becomes an outlaw when he kills one of the king’s stags after being taunted by foresters to show his skill with a longbow. Under sentence of death for killing the animal, the young nobleman flees to Sherwood Forest, where he gathers together a band of outlaws known as the Merry Men. Robin earns his place of leadership by outfighting and outshooting his comrades, all of whom become intensely loyal followers. Robin enjoys playing tricks on the authorities sent to capture him and gains support by helping the poor. Although eventually he is pardoned by Richard the Lion-Hearted and given back his title and estates, Robin becomes homesick for his old ways and returns to life in Sherwood Forest and outlawry. He eventually is killed by a cousin, the prioress at Kirkley Abbey, who bleeds him to death under the guise of giving him medical treatment.
Little John, a huge man who joins the Merry Men after being bested by Robin in a shooting match. As a lark, Little John spends six months in the service of the sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood’s enemy. Little John is with Robin at the time of the hero’s death, though he arrives too late to save him. He buries Robin under the ancient oak where his last arrow fell.
Friar Tuck, a hedge priest who joins the Merry Men after a fight with Robin precipitated by the friar’s ducking of Robin in a stream.
Will Scarlet, one of the Merry Men. He participates with Robin and Little John in an archery match against the king’s men. In the match, the outlaws appear as the queen’s men and win for her.
Richard the Lion-Hearted
Richard the Lion-Hearted, the king. He bests Robin in a fight and then pardons the outlaws, returning the rightful title and estates to their leader.
King John, who is infuriated when Robin Hood reverts to outlawry. He sends a force of men to capture Robin and his men.
The sheriff of Nottingham
The sheriff of Nottingham, a crown officer who tries for years to capture Robin Hood. He is killed in a battle just before the death of Robin himself.
Sir Richard of the Lea
Sir Richard of the Lea, Robin Hood’s friend, a knight whom Robin once helped.
George-a-Greene, faithful followers of Robin Hood.
Maid Marian, a young woman vaguely associated with the Robin Hood cycle. Her...
(The entire section is 660 words.)