The Sheriff of Nottingham
The Sheriff of Nottingham

The Sheriff of Nottingham is the main antagonist in the legend of Robin Hood. He is generally depicted as an unjust tyrant who mistreats the local people of Nottinghamshire, subjecting them to unaffordable taxes. Robin Hood fights against him, stealing from the rich, and the Sheriff, in order to give to the poor; it is this characteristic for which Robin Hood is best known.

It is not conclusively known exactly whom this character is based on, but it would have been one of (or a composite of multiple of) the people who have occupied the post of the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the Royal Forests. If, as in many versions of the Robin Hood legend, the action of the story is placed during the absence of King Richard I of England during the Third Crusade, the character could be identified with the little-known William de Wendenal; however, the Sheriff more usually remains either anonymous or pseudonymous.

Character

The holder of the office of Nottingham's Sheriff, it is his task to capture outlaws such as Robin Hood, either to ensure the safety of trade routes through Sherwood Forest or to keep them from poaching the King's deer. In some stories, the Sheriff of Nottingham is portrayed as having a lecherous desire for Robin Hood's lady Maid Marian. He is widely considered to be the principal villain of the Robin Hood stories, appearing frequently alongside such enemies of Robin Hood as Sir Guy of Gisbourne or Prince John (though rarely both).

The legends are generally set far from Nottingham; this fits the historical position of High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the Royal Forests (from 1068 until 1568). In the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Sheriff's influence outside the region of Nottingham has grown so great, he attempts to take control of the throne.

In some versions, the Sheriff is a cowardly schemer while his assistant, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, is a more competent and determined physical threat to Robin. In other versions, the Sheriff answers to Prince John.

Portrayals

On stage

In film and television

Alan Wheatley as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1950s television series, The Adventures of Robin Hood
Alan Wheatley as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1950s television series, The Adventures of Robin Hood
The Sheriff of Nottingham (voiced by Pat Buttram) in the 1973 Disney animated film, Robin Hood
The Sheriff of Nottingham (voiced by Pat Buttram) in the 1973 Disney animated film, Robin Hood

In literature

In other popular culture

References

  1. ^ Pictorial History of the American Theatre:1860-1985 p.40 c.1985(this version updated to 1985) by Daniel Blum;Crown Publishers
  2. ^ Thomas, Frank, Johnston, Ollie (1986). The illusion of life: Disney animation. Disney Book Group. p. 344.
  3. ^ "Robin and Marian" review by Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times 21 April 1976 Retrieved 19 March 2019
  4. ^ Carpenter, Richard (1984). Robin of Sherwood. Puffin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-031690-2.
  5. ^ The Screening Room's Top 10 British Villains Archived 24 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine, CNN. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  6. ^ McFerran, Ann (9 August 1991). "Alan Rickman: Villain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  7. ^ Rainer, Peter (28 July 1993). "Men in Tights': A See-Through Laugh". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Ethan Reiff -- Interviews in Sherwood". boldoutlaw.com.
  9. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Series 8, Robot of Sherwood - Robot of Sherwood: Fact File". BBC.
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (13 December 2016). "'Rogue One's' Ben Mendelsohn to Play Sheriff of Nottingham in 'Robin Hood: Origins' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 22 December 2016.