Dick Turpin Essay

Dick Turpin Essay

Length: 572 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

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Although today the only highwayman who people remember by name is Dick Turpin, the myth of the highwayman was created long before he came about. The idea of highwaymen was deeply engrained in the minds of the English people, and they were thought of as courageous national icons by many at the time.1 One of the main questions that the study of this matter focusses on his how highwaymen, who often committed abhorrent crimes, were able to gain such a favourable reputation. The explanation for this lies in the stories of highwaymen that depicted their activities, as well as the context in which the crimes took place. Popular literature, pamphlets and ballads, amongst other things, helped to depict highwaymen as gentlemanly, and as those who did good to the poor, even though this was largely not the case in reality. The political and social contexts in which the crimes took place also had a large influence on how highwaymen were perceived, often providing justification for the crimes they took part in. These factors helped to create the myth of the highwayman long before Dick Turpin was e...

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