Жанр баллад. Основные персонажи баллад о Робин Гуде и их функции.

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1. Genre of ballad. Difference of ballad and epic poems
2. Basic cycles of the Scottish and English ballads. Their genre modifications
2.1. Correlation to the genre of pastoral
2.2. Comic ballads
2.3. Mystical ballads
2.4. Motive of bewitched beauty in ballads. Likeness of ballad and fairy tale
3. The basic characters of ballads about Robin Hood and their functions
4. Functions of Robin Hood as a character
4.1. Embodiment of the national idea of justice
4.2. Robin Hood as the myth creator about himself
5. The basic themes and motives: Motive of transformation of rival into companion-in-arms


Жанр баллад. Основные персонажи баллад о Робин Гуде и их функции.

Фрагмент работы для ознакомления

To rin upon yon hill,
And he became a gude grey-hound,
And boldly he did fill.
O bide, lady, bide, &c.
11 Then she became a gay grey mare,
And stood in yonder slack,
And he became a gilt saddle.
And sat upon her back.
Was she wae, he held her sae,
And still he bade her bide;
The rusty smith her leman was,
For a’ her muckle pride.
12 Then she became a het girdle,
And he became a cake,
And a’ the ways she turnd hersell,
The blacksmith was her make.
Was she wae, &c.
13 She turnd hersell into a ship,
To sail out ower the flood;
He ca’ed a nail intill her tail,
And syne the ship she stood.
Was she wae, &c.
14 Then she became a silken plaid,
And stretchd upon a bed,
And he became a green covering,
And gaind her maidenhead.
Was she wae, &c.19
It is interesting to note that in the ballads there is a strict opposition between Good and Evil. The ideals of justice make such heroes as Robin Hood, Little John, Will Scarlet, Richard of the Lea, Guy of Gisborn, the king join together in their struggle against injustice or evil, which is represented by the Sheriff of Nottingham, the bishop of Hereford, monks.
3. The basic characters of ballads about Robin Hood and their functions
From the XI-th to the XIV-th century, there were many categories of social class. Lords owned land and held people as workers for the land. The people who worked the land were villeins. The villeins gave a large percentage of everything they gathered from the land to the landowner, or lord.
Most people in England were villeins. Another group of people commonly found in English villages were cottars, or owners of a small amount of land or a small business. Craftsmen who made wheels, horseshoes, bows and arrows were cottars.
The stories of Robin Hood center around men who rebel against the law of early medieval England. Because so few people were independent, there were many people who had barely enough food and money to support a family. Many people took to the woods, where it was difficult for the villagers and lords to find them.
Since the law labeled those who fled as outlaws, the outlaws would have nowhere to go except into the woods. They could not go to another village to buy property because they would have to prove they were freemen. If they were not freemen, they would have to have permission of their lord to be moving or traveling. As soon as the villagers notified the old lord, they would find out the person was an outlaw.
So it is from this group of outlaws living in the forest that Robin Hood found his men. Robin Hood himself was in trouble for shooting a deer in the King's forest. In those days, only royalty could hunt and kill deer in the forests of the king. Lords were allowed to declare forests in their territory their property, which then were only hunted by the lord and his family. Anyone else hunting deer in the forests did so illegally. The laws over hunting in England were the most hated by the people. It kept them from being able to feed their families.
Everyone in the UK nowadays and even over the world knows the story of Robin Hood. The Anglo-Saxon earl of Huntingdon, Sir Robin of Locksley, has been evicted from his estates by the Normans and outlawed. He lives by highway robbery and poaching. England is under the corrupt and oppressive rule of the wicked Prince John, regent while his brother the king, Richard I, is on crusade. Prince John is in league with the Sheriff of Nottingham and with Guy of Gisborne. They are terrorizing the people. Locksley has taken to Sherwood Forest, and, as Robin Hood with his merry men leads the resistance of free-born Englishmen to the alien rule of the Normans, Robin runs rings round the sheriff. After many adventures, including an archery contest in Nottingham and fighting free of arrest, he triumphs. King Richard returns to England in disguise, observes what is amiss and discovers that Robin is his true subject. Prince John and his allies are removed. Locksley is restored to his lands, gets the girl (Maid Marian), good government is reinstated and freedom restored.
Robin Hood and his men worked to even the wealth of the villages by taking the money of the land-owning rich and distributing it back to the poor.
As the key characters of the ballad one can mention Robin Hood, such as the king, Little John, Will Scarlet, Richard of the Lea, Guy of Gisborn, Alan-a-Dale, the Sheriff of Nottingham, the bishop of Hereford, the monk wandering their way through the legend that has made them famous.
Robin Hood’s enemies are dishonest officials, high churchmen and the grasping, avaricious abbots of the great monasteries, such as St Mary’s in York. It must be remembered that in the Middle Ages the church was rich, powerful and often corrupt. The great monasteries owned vast amounts of land and would tax the common people mercilessly. Thus, by depicting churchmen as the villainous victims of Robin Hood’s crimes, the ballad mongers were able to justify his criminality, whilst at the same time appeal to a deep-rooted resentment within their audiences.
In the stories about Robin Hood, however, unlike the story of William Cloudesly, it is very much the man not the office who is significant. He is curiously the Sheriff of Nottingham, not of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as he should have been. He has no name. He is, anachronistically, the king's viceroy, occupying the office at the king's pleasure, and in regular communication with him. He resides, it seems permanently, not as a fifteenth-century sheriff would in his manor house, but in the royal castle of Nottingham. He displays many of the characteristics of a great lord. He keeps a great household, under the direction of his steward and butler. When retaining Reynolde Grenelefe, alias Little John, 'a wight yonge man', he is prepared to pay him twenty marks a year and supply a good horse (more than a leading member of the county gentry might expect).
The sheriff is moreover given a character, which would not have been particularly flattering to Lord Cromwell: he is an oath-breaker, a coward, a fool and a drunkard. At several levels, therefore, the Sheriff of Nottingham is more than the representative head of the kingdom's fifteenth-century county administration20. He can be seen as the personification of the malign exercise of power. He stands for the generically corrupt and repressive agent of the crown, who can be either official, local magnate or court favourite. He stands, as it were, for all the evil ministers of the crown who ever subverted the true order of society and perverted the king's just rule.
The killing of the sheriff is at one with the receipt of the king's pardon in symbolizing the restoration of true justice. His killing also needs to be understood in the context of the inextricable link between violence and the law in fifteenth-century society. Violent self-help in the right cause carried out by the right people was prized in chivalric ideals. The determining factor was motivation. If the motive was just, violence was thereby justified. Violence was not bad in itself, it was bad only if the cause were bad. The legal system itself was based on violence. Authority legitimized right violence,- indeed violence was the duty as well as the hallmark of the exercise of legitimate authority. Thus the law was sustained and enforced by violence and public acts of violence, it was believed, could even demonstrate legality. In the same way as just war abroad was believed to lead to true peace, so the king's peace at home was maintained by just violence against lawbreakers. This outlook is exemplified in the stories of Robin Hood. The just order of society is maintained and restored in the stories by the righteous violence of its hero who triumphs over the unrighteous, the sheriff and Guy of Gisborne in particular. Whereas he is godly, courageous, valiant and worthy, they are ungodly, cowardly, treacherous and despicable. The idea of the cleansing violence by which Robin Hood enacts restorative justice is thus germane to the perception of the law in the fifteenth century. The violence is necessary so as to affirm legitimate authority, and this is affirmed in the story of William of Cloudesly and recognized in the Gest, by the manner in which the king pardons both men.
4. Functions of Robin Hood as a character
Robin Hood is a hero of legend that has been told since the 14th century. Whether there really was a Robin Hood is unknown. If he existed, it would have been during the 12th or 13th century. There are several theories about who Robin Hood might have been; he may have been a nobleman or he may have been a common man who had to flee the law.
Robin Hood was first brought to life in songs, then stories were written about him. The tales that are told here are part of both—song and story.
The legend of Robin Hood provides a historical record of the thirteenth century. It begins with the premise that the earliest surviving written version of the stories of Robin Hood dates from the fifteenth century, and probably the second half of that century. And it follows with the deduction that therefore they talk to us from and tell us about that century. Certainly history is no lucid transcript of reality, and the book would not have been undertaken if I believed that everyone knew what I wanted to write. But history is nothing if not messing about with the past.
The earliest stories of Robin Hood nevertheless contained features which everyone does know and which have survived the messing about of the centuries. Robin Hood is an outlaw. He is accompanied by his merry men, among whom are Little John (his principal lieutenant), Will Scarlet (or Scarlock) and Much the Miller's son. There is no Friar Tuck among his merry men, but there is a friar Tuck in a surviving play fragment. There is no Maid Marian, but Robin is devoted to the Virgin Mary. They reside in Sherwood Forest (but also float freely northwards to Barnsdale in south Yorkshire). They poach the king's deer, they hold up travelers through the forest whom they always invite to dine before they rob them. They are skilled archers, most of all Robin Hood, who can split the wand, the peg on which the target is hung in an archery contest. Robin in more than one story goes into Nottingham in disguise to take part in an archery contest, and in one he is recognised, betrayed and fights his way out. His archenemy is the Sheriff of Nottingham, who is frequently humiliated as well as killed twice. He is particularly unfriendly to monks, especially the Benedictine monks of St Mary's Abbey, York, who feature in two stories. He robs from the undeserving and helps the deserving, but he does not rob from the rich to give to the poor. He professes loyalty to his king, who in one story pardons him and in another condones his behaviour, but this is a King Edward, not Richard I. He is not an Anglo-Saxon, let alone a dispossessed earl. He is a plain yeoman.
The ballads constantly refer to Robin's attempts to dodge the Sheriff of Nottingham, the king's representative who looked after the Royal forest and supervised the collection of taxes.
Robin Hood and his band of merry men would trek through the forest in search of wealthy people passing through with bulging purses, quality cloth and weighty jewels.
Maid Marian was first mentioned as part of the Robin Hood legend in the 1500s so it is unlikely that assuming Robin lived, the pair ever met. However Robin is reputed to have welcomed her into his gang and taken her hand in marriage at St Mary's Church in Edwinstowe in the forest.
There are several versions of the tale of Robin Hood's death. One is that Robin was wounded during a fight near Barnsdale with Roger of Doncaster. Although Robin was weakened by his injury, he struck Roger with his sword, cutting off his head. Robin summoned Little John and asked him to dig a grave and place him in it with his sword at his head, his bow at his side and his arrows at his feet. Another version of the tale is that Robin fired an arrow from a window close to his death bed and asked to be buried wherever it landed. Regardless of how he died, the spirit of the Robbing Hood lives on in the magical tales passed down through many generations.
4.1. Embodiment of the national idea of justice
Robin Hood is an “idealized image of the national defender”21. Ballads about Robin Hood are inseparable from the green wood (the wild wood, which is the household of freedom-loving peasants, who could become oulaws when opposing their oppressors). To be an outlaw in the fifteenth century was often little more than a technicality,- only exceptionally was it to be a fugitive hunted down by the king's officer, the sheriff. Robin Hood and his merry men may have fitted into these exceptional circumstances. Whereas we are informed that Cloudesly was outlawed for poaching and Gamelyn through the vindictiveness of his brother, we are never told why Robin Hood was outlawed. It is implied that he is the victim of malicious litigation by others for personal gain, in which the sheriff has colluded. However, the original reason, even if he were a victim of injustice, is not relevant. Being an outlaw pursued by the sheriff's officers, as a few documented gang leaders were, seems in itself to have been enough to make him a hero.
Robin Hood celebrates righteous violence to maintain true justice precisely when the officers of the law have failed. The moral is clear in the story of Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne. In contrast to the good yeoman Robin, Guy is the bad yeoman. He 'had bene many a mans bane' and, as he himself boasted, like a later melodramatic villain, 'I have done many a curst turne'. He is a bounty hunter, a hit-man who has a contract on Robin. The two meet and fight. He meets a deserved and grisly end. Seen through this prism, Belsham is more like Robin Hood and the man who brought him to justice, William Wolf, more like Guy of Gisborne. One wonders, therefore, whether one should assume that public opinion held an unquestioning or universal respect for enforcers of the law: the Robin Hood stories in which the officers of the law were flouted so openly perhaps appealed to a counter-culture, in which sympathy existed for notorious criminals in their conflict with the law.
Just as Robin and his fellowship might be seen to embody more sincerely than a great Benedictine monastery the true Christian ideals, so also he is an outlaw who maintains justice more impartially than the chief justice of the realm. He was a good outlaw while he walked on ground, which is fundamentally a contradiction in terms: a thief, a murderer and a renegade upholding the law?
4.2. Robin Hood as the myth creator about himself
A most significant moment in the development of the Robin Hood story was the drawing of five of these separate tales together in the fifteenth century into a compilation called the Gest of Robyn Hode22, in which a single connecting narrative was supplied. One of the stories woven together is about 'Robin Hood and the Knight', sometimes known as the 'sorry knight' because of his plight. This provides the central thread. A second is about 'Robin Hood and the Sheriff’ in which the hero goes into Nottingham to participate in an archery contest, is betrayed and fights his way out. A third is 'Little John and the Sheriff’, in which Little John disguises himself as Reynolde Grenelefe and enters the sheriff's service and leads him into a trap in the forest. A fourth is 'Robin Hood and the King', which tells how the king pursues Robin, only catching up with him when he is disguised as a monk and is waylaid, and then pardons him and takes him into his service. And the last is 'The Death of Robin Hood' which tells how Robin, having abandoned the court and fled to the forest again, is finally killed through the treachery of the prioress of Kirklees, in Yorkshire.
After a few introductory stanzas, the narrative begins with Robin Hood's men waylaying the knight, who tells his sorry story. Robin lends him money to help redeem his mortgaged lands from the abbot of St Mary's, York. He goes with Little John to York, revealing that he has the money only after being humiliated by the abbot and the 'high justice', who had conspired to defraud him. Having recovered his lands he goes home, and a year later returns to the forest to repay the loan. But by this time Robin has waylaid the cellarer of the abbey, who was journeying south and relieved him of more than twice the amount. So Robin waives his loan. But when later Robin escapes from the sheriff in Nottingham and is pursued by him, he is given refuge by the knight in his castle, and the two withstand the siege. Now both the knight and Robin are outlawed. The sheriff seizes the knight, but he cannot capture Robin. So the king comes down to restore order, but not even he can catch him until he disguises himself as a monk who is waylaid by Robin. The king reveals himself, recognises Robin's loyalty, pardons him and takes him into his service. But after a year or so in royal service Robin flees back to the forest, where he remains at large for a further twenty years before his final betrayal and death.
The dominant narrative is thus woven together, in such a way as to form a coherent story in which Robin assists the knight, they are both pursued by the sheriff and in the end pardoned by the king. Yet close examination reveals the stitching as it were: the unnamed knight in the early part becomes Sir Richard at the Lee in the later sections.
Robin Hood doubted that society in the fifteenth century was any more diversified than in the thirteenth, suggesting that the word yeoman was but a new label for a long-established social status. Robin Hood could have been one sort of yeoman, the audience as a whole composed of others, and not just yeomen.
The English word 'yeoman' is derived from the Old English 'yonger man'. The phrase 'yonge men' in fact appears twice in place of 'yeomen' in the printed version of the Gest at the beginning of the story of 'Robin Hood and the Sheriff,- here his followers are his 'mery yonge men' (merry young men). A similar usage is found in Gamelyn23; the outlaws in the forest whom he joins are 'seven score yonge men', sometimes merry men, but always young men not yeomen. In Gamelyn an emphasis is placed on their age. They are indeed young, as is the main hero. They are also in the service of their master, the king of the outlaws, whose service Gamelyn also joins. There is implicitly a dynamic element in the use of the phrase in the sense of indicating a stage in a career, the stage through which a young man in service passes on the way to becoming a squire or master, as does Gamelyn, who soon becomes the king of the outlaws himself. The usage of 'yonge man' in this way was extended to great London companies of the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries such as the tailors. The word was adopted to identify those who had completed their apprenticeships, but were not yet masters, probably unmarried and working as wage-earners, or journeymen. In the late fourteenth century they formed their own fraternities, which, at first distrusted by the livery, were in time absorbed into the structure of the company. The membership also widened to incorporate small-scale masters who were on their way to becoming livery men, or, in many cases, were never going to make it.
But in the fourteenth century the word 'yeoman' also began to be used as a translation of the French valet, or Latin valettus, as a rank24. As such it lay between esquire and groom in a noble household. Valets or yeomen, as household ordinances and lists reveal, occupied a distinct position in the hierarchy.

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