Some reflections on the new Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe Robin Hood movie
Those who doubt the link between historical purpose and motivation (see post below), may wish to think for a moment of the story of Robin Hood. It is one of those enduring and inspiring tales … and as Stephen Moss from the Guardian points out, it has become more and more inspiring over the centuries as people embellished it again and again and again. Here is the link to his article, where Moss re-traces the rather peculiar steps he took trying to find the real Robin Hood (who, if he existed at all was most likely a rather nasty bandit who was captured and killed by the authorities).
What I find most fascinating about the serial embellishing of the Robin Hood story is how succeeding generations have changed the story to fit their own needs and interests. Was the real Robin Hood a rebel, a great archer, a disenfranchised nobleman, a returning crusader, a merry fellow, an adventurer who took from the rich to give to the poor, the romantic lover of Maid Merion, defender of King Richard against a usurper … and on and on? Of course not.
But it really doesn’t matter, does it? Robin Hood, the ever evolving story, helps us refine how we justify ourselves in our own lives in light of our perceptions of our own past. That is the real story and the reason why the Robin Hood story has to evolve to meet our needs. It is all about us, and who we are becoming as we re-imagine the past.
Oh … and so will the Scott/Crowe film depict the “true” Robin Hood? According to Moss, Scott/Crowe claim that they want historical accuracy. But it would be absurd to attempt a popular and historically accurate re-telling of the Robin Hood’s story — as such a thing never existed in the first place. Yet one cannot deny that people want to believe in the story, and some are no doubt foolish enough want to believe in the truth of the story too. So Scott/Crowe are being clever rascals to pose as detectives for the purpose of getting us to part with our hard earned money at the tail end of a nasty recession. I wonder — will they give it to the poor?