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Robin Hood

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Robin Hood

by Harry Smith

Genre: Drama, Operetta
Format of Original Source: Plot summary
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


The first act of “Robin Hood” opens in the market-place of Nottingham, where the villagers are holding a fair and at the same time celebrating May Day with a blithe chorus, for Robin Hood’s name is often associated with that day. The three outlaws Allan a Dale, Little John, and Will Scarlet, enter, and sing most lustily the praises of their free life in Sherwood Forest, the villagers joining in chorus. The tantara changes to a graceful and yet hilarious dance chorus, “A Morris Dance must you entrance,” sung fortissimo. The second number is a characteristic and lively song by Friar Tuck, in which he offers at auction venison, ale, and homespun, followed by No. 3, a humorous pastoral, the milkmaid’s song with chorus, “When Chanticleer crowing.” This leads up to the entrance of Robin Hood in a spirited chorus, “Come the Bowmen in Lincoln Green,” in which the free life of the forest is still further extolled. Another and still more spirited scene introduces Maid Marian, which is followed by an expressive and graceful duet for Maid Marian and Robin Hood, “Though it was within this Hour we met,” closing in waltz time. This is followed by the Sheriff’s buffo song with chorus, “I am the Merry Sheriff of Nottingham,” and this in turn by a trio introduced by the Sheriff, “When a Peer makes Love to a Damsel Fair,” which, after the entrance of Sir Guy and his luckless wooing, closes in a gay waltz movement, “Sweetheart, my own Sweetheart.” In the finale Robin Hood demands that the Sheriff shall proclaim him Earl. The Sheriff declares that by his father’s will he has been disinherited, and that he has the documents to show that before Robin Hood’s birth his father was secretly married to a young peasant girl, who died when the Earl’s first child was born. He further declares that he reared the child, and that he is Sir Guy, the rightful heir of Huntington. Maid Marian declares she will suppress the King’s command and not accept Sir Guy’s hand, and Robin Hood vows justice shall be done when the King returns from the Crusades.


If you’re going to adapt the Robin Hood story, you’d be much better off served looking at the original source material, rather than this pedestrian retelling.


A word of caution: This plot summary was written by 19th-century literary critic George Upton, who often mixes personal opinion with summation. You would be advised to consult the original source material, if the general plot appeals to you.


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