Robin Hood was a legendary outlaw hero of a series of English ballads. Many stories about him describe him as a rebel who together with his companions rob and kill representatives of authority and distribute the spoils to the poor. Their biggest enemy was the Sheriff of Nottingham, a local government representative. Robin was an enemy of wealthy ecclesiastical landowners, while he treated women, the poor, and the humble with courtesy. In the first ballads, in particular, the cruelty that was an inevitable part of medieval life is described.
A lot of research has been done to prove that Robin Hood really existed, but some medieval writers make it clear that the ballads themselves were the only proof of his existence available to them. No attempt to identify Robin Hood with a particular historical figure has garnered much support, and the outlaw’s existence may be nothing more than a legend.
However, the character of Robin Hood is important as he represents popular aspirations in the north of England during the turbulent era of baronial rebellions and agrarian discontent, which culminated in the Peasant Revolt of 1381. Tales of an outlaw who defied, deceived, and killed representatives of power, of course, attracted ordinary people.