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Robin Hood and the Afterlife of Yeoman Values in Anthony Munday’s The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington and The Death of Robert, Earle of Huntington

Denis Renevey


Pages 111 - 129

DOI https://doi.org/10.33675/SPELL/2023/43/11


open-access

This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0.



This essay explores the complex definition of the yeoman as a historical entity in late medieval England, assessing how the figure is represented in A Gest of Robin Hode, Robin Hood and the Monk and Robin Hood and the Potter. In these medieval ballads, Robin Hood is a forester yeoman, whose skills as a hunter and archer are indicative of his status as an outlaw. The early modern period marks an important moment in the character’s afterlife and Anthony Munday’s The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington and The Death of Robert, Earle of Huntington feature a new Robin Hood character, the gentleman in disguise, who finds himself in the woods by accident. The significant alteration and gentrification of Robin Hood’s character in Munday’s plays, however, does not erase all traces of his medieval yeoman predecessor. In this essay I analyse the way yeoman values are maintained and reconfigured in Munday’s plays and argue that they retain a positive appreciation of the yeoman figure, despite the character’s status as Robert, Earl of Huntington.

Keywords: Robin Hood, forest, yeoman, outlaw, gentrification

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