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Maid Marian (or Marion) is the love interest of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood in English folklore. Maid Marian
Maid Marian
was in origin a "shepherdess" figure associated with May Day. Her role as the love interest of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
dates to at least the 16th century.[1] She is typically portrayed as beautiful, confident, and sincere in her love of Robin Hood. Often, she is a noblewoman in the stories, though sometimes she is a commoner. Most modern Robin Hood
Robin Hood
stories feature her prominently and present her as an admirable woman. Of particular note is Marian's independence and relative equality to her lover, marking her as one of the earliest strong female characters in English literature.

History

Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Marian in their Bower (1912). Maid Marion wears a Tyrolean hat and carries a hunting horn.

Maid Marian
Maid Marian
is never mentioned in any of the earliest extant ballads of Robin Hood. She appears to have originally been a character in May Games festivities (held during May and early June, most commonly around Whitsun)[2] and is sometimes associated with the Queen or Lady of May or May Day. Jim Lees in The Quest for Robin Hood (p. 81) suggests that Maid Marian
Maid Marian
was originally a personification of the Virgin Mary. Both a "Robin" and a "Marian" character were associated with May Day
May Day
by the 15th century, but these figures were apparently part of separate traditions; the Marian of the May Games is likely derived from the French tradition of a shepherdess named Marion and her shepherd lover Robin, recorded in Adam de la Halle's Le Jeu de Robin et Marion, circa 1283.[3] It isn't clear if there was an association of the early "outlaw" character of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the early "May Day" character Robin, but they did become identified, and associated with the "Marian" character, by the 16th century. Alexander Barclay, writing in c. 1500, refers to "some merry fytte of Maid Marian
Maid Marian
or else of Robin Hood".[4] Marian remained associated with May Day
May Day
celebrations even after the association of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
with May Day
May Day
had again faded.[5] The early Robin Hood
Robin Hood
is also given a "shepherdess" love interest, in Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage (Child Ballad 149), his sweetheart is "Clorinda the Queen of the Shepherdesses".[6] Clorinda survives in some later stories as an alias of Marian.[7]

The "gentrified" Robin Hood
Robin Hood
character, portrayed as a historical outlawed nobleman, emerges in the late 16th century. From this time, Maid Marian
Maid Marian
is also cast in terms of a noblewoman, even though her role was never entirely virginal and she retained aspects of her "shepherdess" or "May Day" characteristics; in 1592, Thomas Nashe described the Marian of the later May Games as being played by a male actor named Martin, and there are hints in the play of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Friar that the female character in these plays had become a lewd parody. Robin was originally called Ryder.

In the play, The Downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntingdon by Robert Munday, which was written in 1598, Marian appears as Robin's lawfully-wedded wife, who changes her name from Matilda when she joins him in the greenwood.[8] She also has a cousin called Elizabeth de Staynton who is described as being the Prioress of Kirklees Priory near Brighouse in West Yorkshire.[9] The 19th century antiquarian, Joseph Hunter, identified a Robert Hood, yeoman[10] from Wakefield, Yorkshire, in the archives preserved in the Exchequer, whose personal story matched very closely the story of Robin in Robert Munday's play, and this Robert Hood also married a woman named Matilda, who changed her name to Marian when she joined him in exile in Barnsdale
Barnsdale
Forest"> Barnsdale
Barnsdale
Forest (following the Battle of Boroughbridge) in 1322, and who also had a cousin named Elizabeth de Staynton[11] who was Prioress of Kirklees Priory.[9] If these parallels are not coincidental, then the Marian of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
fame, whose origins may be distinct from the Marian of the May games or of Monday's play, may derive all her roots from her association with the historical Robert Hood of Wakefield.[12]

In an Elizabethan play, Anthony Munday identified Maid Marian
Maid Marian
with the historical Matilda, daughter of Robert Fitzwalter, who had to flee England because of an attempt to assassinate King John (legendarily attributed to King John's attempts to seduce Matilda).[13][14] In later versions of Robin Hood, Maid Marian
Maid Marian
is commonly named as "Marian Fitzwalter."[15][16]

In Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Maid Marian
( Child Ballad
Child Ballad
150, perhaps dating to the 17th century), Maid Marian
Maid Marian
is "a bonny fine maid of a noble degree" said to excel both Helen and Jane Shore in beauty. Separated from her lover, she dresses as a page "and ranged the wood to find Robin Hood," who was himself disguised, so that the two begin to fight when they meet. As is often the case in these ballads, Robin Hood
Robin Hood
loses the fight to comical effect, and Marian only recognizes him when he asks for quarter. This ballad is in the "Earl of Huntington" tradition, a supposed "historical identity" of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
forwarded in the late 16th century.[17]

20th-century pop culture adaptations of the Robin Hood
Robin Hood
legend have almost invariably featured a Maid Marian, and have mostly made her a highborn woman with a rebellious or "tomboy" character. In 1938's Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(film)">The Adventures of Robin Hood
, she is a courageous and loyal woman (played by Olivia de Havilland), and a ward of the court, an orphaned noblewoman under the protection of King Richard. Although always ladylike, her initial antagonism to Robin springs not from aristocratic disdain but out of an aversion to robbery.[18] In Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merrie Men">The Story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merrie Men
(1952), she, despite being a lady-in-waiting to Eleanor of Aquitaine during the Crusades, is in reality a mischievous tomboy capable of fleeing boldly to the countryside disguised as a boy.[19] In the Kevin Costner epic Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, she is a maternal cousin to the sovereign, while in the BBC TV Show adaption of 2006, she is the daughter of the former Sheriff and was betrothed to Robin prior to his leaving for the Holy Land.

Maid Marian's role as a prototypical strong female character has also made her a popular focus in feminist fiction. Theresa Tomlinson's Forestwife novels (1993–2000) are told from Marian's point of view, portray Marian as a high-born Norman girl escaping entrapment in an arranged marriage. With the aid of her nurse, she runs away to Sherwood Forest, where she becomes acquainted with Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and his men.

Literature

There have been several books based on the fictional character:

Television

Bernadette O'Farrell as Maid Marian.

Film

Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian

References

  1. ^ Holt (1982), p. 37.
  2. ^ Knight (2003), pp. 11–12.
  3. ^ Hutton (1997), pp. 270–271.
  4. ^ Richards (1977), p. 190.
  5. ^ Hutton (1997), p. 274.
  6. ^ Holt (1982), p. 165.
  7. ^ Wright, Allen W. "Other Merry Men". A Beginner's Guide to Robin Hood. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  8. ^ "The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington". Robbins Library Digital Projects, University of Rochester. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Zaaijer, Reijer (7 November 2013). "Fact or Fiction E04 Robin Hood". YouTube. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  10. ^ Midgley, Tim (2011). "Robin Hood... of Wakefield". midgleywebpages.com. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  11. ^ Midgley, Tim. "The Prioress of Kirklees". midgleywebpages.com. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  12. ^ Cawthorne, Nigel (2010). "Chapter 10: Maid Marian
    Maid Marian
    and Friar Tuck". A Brief History of Robin Hood. London, UK: Robinson. ISBN 978-1-84901-301-7.
     
  13. ^ The "Matilda" theory of Maid Marian
    Maid Marian
    is further discussed in Thomson, Richard (1829). An Historical Essay on the Magna Charta of King John: To which are Added the Great Charter in Latin and English. London, UK: J. Major & R. Jennings. pp. 505–507. 
  14. ^ Wright, Allen W. "Marian". A Beginner's Guide to Robin Hood. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  15. ^ Marian Fitzwalter, only child of the Earl of Huntingdon, is the Maid Marian
    Maid Marian
    in McSpadden, J. Walker (1926). "Chapter I: How Robin Hood
    Robin Hood
    Became An Outlaw". Robin Hood. London, UK: George Harrap – via Project Gutenberg.
     
  16. ^ "Maid Marion". The International Catalogue of Heroes. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  17. ^ Wright, Allen W. " Robin Hood
    Robin Hood
    Tales". A Beginner's Guide to Robin Hood. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
     
  18. ^ Richards (1977), p. 200.
  19. ^ Richards (1977), p. 201.
  20. ^ King, Stephen (2003). Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 326–327. ISBN 1-880418-56-8. 
  21. ^ " Robin Hood
    Robin Hood
    (1953– ), Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
     
  22. ^ "interview: Katherine Shannon". mjsimpson-films.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 27 March 2018. 
  23. ^ "Robin Hood: Ghosts of Sherwood (2012) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  24. ^ Jaafar, Ali (30 September 2015). "'Robin Hood: Origins' Shortlist: Eve Hewson, Gaite Jansen, Lucy Fry & Gugu Mbatha-Raw In Mix For Female Lead". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  25. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (15 October 2015). " Eve Hewson Landing Maid Marian
    Maid Marian
    In 'Robin Hood: Origins' Opposite Taron Egerton". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
     

External links