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The rulers of the medieval English kingdom discouraged resistance to authority by the widespread use of execution, outlawry, and exile. Yet medieval English society also applauded such resistance. Encapsulated in the tales of Robin Hood, the good outlaw is loyal, courageous, and clever; while the authorities he outwits are disloyal, cowardly, and stupid, using the cover of the law to behave corruptly.
Examination of the outlaw in medieval literature tells us much about the mentality of the medieval English mind.