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Honesty Offends the King in 'Robin Hood'

It is the turn of the 12th century, and King Richard the Lionhearted and his army, having fought in the Crusades, are on their way back to England. One evening, Richard, weary of the patronizing of his inner circle, has emerged from his tent with his right-hand man, Sir Loxley, in search of an honest Englishman's opinion of him and his crusade. They come upon a raucous crowd of soldiers gathered around the fighting Robin Hood and Little John.

Sir Loxley angrily stops the fight, but King Richard, more amused than angry, asks who started the fight. When both Robin Hood and Little John take responsibility, King Richard is so impressed by their honesty that he addresses a question to Robin Hood: "Are you honest enough to tell a king something that he does not want to hear? What is your opinion on my crusade? Will God be pleased with my sacrifice?"

Robin is silent for a moment, and then he slowly raises his eyes to look King Richard in the face. "No, he won't," Robin says.

When King Richard asks why God won't be pleased with his crusades, Robin Hood reminds the king of a recent battle:

When you had us herd [2,500] men, women, and children together, the young woman at my feet, with her hands bound, she looked up at me. There wasn't fear in her eyes. There wasn't anger. There was only pity. For she knew that when you gave the order, and our blades would descend upon their heads, that in that moment, we would be godless. All of us. Godless.

From King Richard's expression, it's clear that he didn't really want an honest answer. Embarrassed and disgusted by Robin Hood's indictment, he ends the conversation by dismissing Robin with a curt response: "Honest, brave, and naïve." Then King Richard walks away.


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