Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Will Scarlet / Scarlett

Will Scatlock was forced into the outlaw way of life before Robin Hood, although if the stories are true that Will was Robin's cousin, they could have been outlawed at the same time simply because they were related. Will's early life as an outlaw was dominated by his anger and rage at the Normans. Will Scatlock lacked Robin Hood's later noble principles about robbing the rich to feed the poor; he simply wanted revenge. It was precisely this angry, hot headed state of mind which prevented him from becoming an effective leader, although his aggressive tone was certainly an influence among the outlaw fraternity which surrounded him. Some say the name "Scarlet" was bestowed on him because of this anger inside, (a concept explored most successfully in Robin of Sherwood. It is also possible the name Will Scarlet was given him by the other outlaws because of his amusing habit of incorporating some of the rich fabrics and items of clothing he stole into his own shabby attire, much like wearing trophies. But one thing is certain; the real Will Scarlet was no foppish dandy.
After Robin Hood's natural leadership skills had organised the outlaws of Sherwood Forest into an effective force to combat the Sheriff's exploitation of the people of Nottingham, Will Scarlet would become one of Robin's most faithful and devoted followers, second only to Little John. Possibly born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, the church of St Mary in Blidworth is said to be his final resting place.

Top: Will Scatlock (Bruce Seton) is mortally wounded in battle. His final wish is for Robin to take over as leader of the outlaws. (Scene from The Adventures of Robin Hood television series).
Bottom: Will Scarlet as played by Patric Knowles was a rather ridiculous looking character in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), a trend continued by Ronald Howard for 1950's television, and Anthony Forwood in the first Disney version of the legend. Ray Winstone totally restored the character's credibility in Robin of Sherwood a stunning performance in which his torment and anger emanated from the small screen. Robin Prince of Thieves would seem take a lot of it's inspiration from ideas within Robin of Sherwood, and Christian Slater certainly continued the trend of a tormented Will Scarlet. But before them came the gritty Robin and Marian which explored the final days of Robin Hood, days in which Robin was to find only an equally aging Will Scarlet, played by Denholm Elliott, and Friar Tuck still living in Sherwood Forest.
Click on this link for more Will Scarlet and Robin Hood pictures, and visit http://robinhoodoutlaw.blogspot.com/

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