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Thread: Why is Friar Tuck considered Maid Marian's confessor?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2011

    Why is Friar Tuck considered Maid Marian's confessor?

    I just finished reading both 'The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood' by Howard Pyle and 'Friar Tuck' by Cameron Taylor in preparation for an audition, and I've noticed something interesting: many of the descriptions that I've read of Friar Tuck label him as, among other things, Maid Marian's secret confessor. This seems like an interesting and important part of the legend of Robin Hood, and the acting troupe even mentions this in the description of Tuck's character, yet it does not appear in either book at all. I can barely find any reference to it anywhere.

    Does anyone out there know the story and can enlighten me?

  2. #2
    aspiring Arthurianist Wilde woman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    grad school in upstate NY
    I'm not familiar enough with the Robin Hood tradition to comment properly, but it is generally accepted that Friar Tuck's character was introduced into the tale almost simultaneously with Maid Marian's, so they have at least that in common. I suppose it's possible that he could be Maid Marian's confessor, though he's not usually presented as a particularly pious character.

    My class is getting to the Robin Hood texts in two weeks, so I could get back to you then.

    Edit: I would also add that both the sources you read are modern authors with very different agendas than the medieval authors. I'm not familiar with Cameron Taylor, but Howard Pyle is known for adapting and bowdlerizing medieval literature for children (he did a similar retelling of the Arthurian stories). If you found the confessor bit in either of them, you might want to consider why such a detail was added. This is pure speculation, but if Friar Tuck was Maid Marian's confessor in the Pyle, perhaps it's a way of showing children that they shouldn't hide secrets from their elders, or to show them there's a safe outlet for confiding one's secrets. If Tuck is Marian's confessor in the modern novel, Taylor might - perhaps - be using it as a way to explore the psychology of Marian's character. In other words, this added detail might further genre-specific goals. Does that make sense?
    Last edited by Wilde woman; 03-27-2011 at 02:08 AM.
    Ecce quam bonum et jocundum, habitares libros in unum!
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  3. #3
    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    Apr 2005
    In one of the branches of the multiverse, but I don't know which one.
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    This is the first time that I have heard of him being described as "Maid Marian's secret confessor" All confessions are secret, so if he heard her confession, then it would be secret, but the same would have been true of any priest who heard her confession. Te matter of secret might have been added by an ignorant recent adder that pile of writing.

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