Over the years, the legend of Robin Hood has endured great change. Through each generation, the story acquired new characters, tales, expanded themes, and some fresh historical contexts to adapt to the interests of the audience. The legend collected many fragments of other stories as time went on. Also as time passed, the character of Robin Hood underwent many changes. Originally, Robin Hood was portrayed as a yeoman, then transformed into a mistreated nobleman, later turned into an Englishman protesting the domination of the Normans, and finally, through modern adaptation he has came to be known as a social rebel who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. There is no way to ensure that a certain historical figure was in fact the basis for Robin Hood, however there exists many possible candidates. In order to find a possible identity that fits the persona of Robin Hood, one must look at the earliest works of literature that mention his name.
For hundreds of years, historians have written about when Robin Hood had lived. However, many of these dates conflict with each other. One of the earliest surviving ballads from a manuscript collection, written around 1450 and which describes a man named “Robyn Hode,” is conventionally known as Robin Hood and the Monk. This work also included a prayer against thieves and robbers, and t...
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...ve used the alias Robin Hood in their crimes. For example, in 1498, a man named Roger Marshall led an uprising of 100 people and used the alias Robin Hood claiming his actions were typical of the legendary figure. There is a very good possibility that a real man may have inspired these aliases. However, British historian Barrie Dobson claims that Robin Hood was possibly just a nickname for criminals.
In conclusion, it is impossible, as far as our knowledge goes, to know for certain if Robin Hood was an actual person, based on an actual person, or was merely legend. There is strong evidence that Robin Hood was based on an actual person and there are many possible candidates for the real-life Robin Hood, but there is no definite evidence for any of them. The true identity of the legendary Robin Hood may one day be known if more evidence presents itself.
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