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Robin Hood begins his run from the law at age 18, after accidentally killing a forester in an argument, and becomes the leader of a band of outlaws. While nothing about Robin Hood’s prior life is revealed before this event, he clearly views figures of authority as immoral and corrupt. For this reason, though Robin feels guilt over the murder of the forester, he justifies his status as an outlaw by dedicating his life to helping those who are less fortunate rather than paying his debt to society by going to jail or being hanged. Although Robin Hood takes great pride in his moral compass, he is often morally ambiguous. To help the needy and at times himself, he steals from those he believes have an excessive amount of wealth or who have wronged the less fortunate in one way or another. Robin feels betrayed by the deception of others and considers it grounds for retribution. He often finds amusement in deceiving those he believes to be corrupt. Still, Robin tends to draw the line at committing crimes against those who have not harmed others. Even when Robin Hood does steal from the wealthy, he often makes sure to leave them with a bit of money and to see that they return home safely. In this way, Robin is a more moral figure than the people who oppose him.
Robin Hood has a disdain for social class or structure in any form. He especially resents members of the clergy, whom he often makes the target of humiliation in his exploits. Robin far prefers the community he has in Sherwood Forest, which is built on friendship rather than hierarchy. He brings people of various backgrounds into his band, from minstrels and millers to knights and friars. Robin Hood’s enjoyment of life is obvious when compared with the authority figures who want to capture him, showing how a life based on the simple pleasures of nature, friendship, and merriment is far more rewarding than one based on the quest for wealth, social status, and vengeance. In the end, Robin Hood’s death in the arms of his beloved friend Little John shows what a fulfilling life he led, especially when compared with the death of his longtime enemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham.