Robin Hood is a well-known folklore classic, famous for ‘robbing from the rich and giving to the poor’. There are however, many arguments suggesting that he was actually a psychopathic murderer and the romanticism era twisted him to be a well-loved fairy tale character.
When picturing Robin Hood, very often the image which springs to mind is a man ingreen tights holding a bow and arrow. This image of the famous outlaw originated from the era of Romanticism in the mid-nineteenth Century. However, if one was to scale back the reinvigorated legend, leaving aside the tights and the ‘Merry Men’, one would be left with an outlaw who stole substantial sums of money from landlords across Nottingham. The origin of the legend himself is not clear; the two leading theories are that either Robin Hood was Lord Robert of Locksley or that he was an archer returning from the Third Crusade. Either one of these possibilities has the potential for admirable qualities which are enhanced in the ballads and stories over the centuries.
Robin Hood was supposed to have been roaming in the era of Richard the Lionheart. Richard the Lionheart was the epitome of the warrior king; in all his dealings in the Holy Land, at the courts of Europe and at home he was revered. It is not surprising that he is remembered as a brilliant king. However, in his ten years as King he spent only a few months in England which left his brother John as regent. With such an overshadowing brother it is hardly surprising that he was unpopular, however he was not a lucky monarch; economic theory was non-existent in the 13th Century and it has been proven that there was mass inflation in England which led to a rise in taxes. It is within this time period that Robin Hood appears and it is not surprising that the legend took root in such a fertile set up; a glorious king, a malicious regent and a heroic outlaw.
The theories which suggest that Hood was a psychopathic murderer are just as unfounded as those records which identify Robin as being a historical figure. The problem with labelling a legend is that there is no evidence to support it; the “Man in Green” may well have had an imbalance but with the data available, he is just as likely to have been a pacifist or not have existed at all.