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Literature / The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood

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In merry England in the time of old...

An 1883 novel by the American illustrator and writer Howard Pyle. Drawing on traditional medieval ballads, Pyle compiled stories of the famous outlaw Robin Hood and his friends into an episodic, coherent narrative. The novel's characterization of Robin Hood as unambiguously heroic influenced later depictions of the character.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood contains examples of:

  • The Big Guy: Little John is "seven feet in height" and "at least an ell around the waist."
  • Corrupt Church: Robin Hood and his men bear a special enmity towards "overgaudy" bishops and other rich clergymen. At the novel's end, Robin Hood is bled to death by a prioress.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: A very frequently used trope. Little John, Friar Tuck, the Sheriff's Cook, and more all join Robin Hood after fighting either Robin himself or one of his men.
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  • Dramatic Unmask: Robin Hood throws back his cowl while saving Little John from execution, revealing his identity to the Sheriff.
  • King Incognito: King Richard disguises himself as a friar, knowing the habit will make him an ideal victim for Robin Hood. The disguise allows him to spend time with the outlaws in Sherwood Forest (though he reveals his true identity at the end of his visit).
  • Master Archer: Robin Hood is, naturally, the very best archer in all merry England.