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In Shrek there is a character called Monsieur Hood, also referred to as Robin Hood later on. He is a clear parody of Robin Hood, a legendary figure from England.

What I don't understand though is why he is French in the film when he is an English figure. So, why did they decide to make him French?

105

According to Shrek director Andrew Adamson, out-of-universe, the makers did it because they thought it would be funny. In-universe, Hood comes from the "French side" of Sherwood Forest, hence his strong accent.

But that doesn't explain why the Three Blind Mice have British accents (Mike Myers, also the voice of Shrek, makes one rodent sound like John Lennon), the Three Little Pigs speak with a German inflection, and Robin Hood apparently is from the French side of Sherwood Forest. "Our thinking was not so much why do something, but why not do that," Adamson says.

USA Today: Pigs, dwarfs and Pinocchio, but no Goldilocks

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    Oh, sure, come up with a real answer... ;) – Zeiss Ikon Oct 15 at 19:24
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    @ZeissIkon - Votre answer est plus bon aussi – Valorum Oct 15 at 19:28
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    If you're going to do a comedy, making the most English of legendary figures (along with King Arthur) French is hilarious. It would be like making El Cid Swedish – Keith Morrison Oct 16 at 3:50
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    @KeithMorrison King Arthur English? Hm... there's some work to do there... British would do. But Arthur supposedly fought to defend Britain against the invading Germanic tribes (Saxons and Angles). – clem steredenn Oct 16 at 11:42
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    @Valorum, Your Français is more good too. – Drag and Drop Oct 16 at 13:39
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The original Robin of Locksley (the Robin Hood of Pyle's stories) was a minor noble, and all nobles in England at the time (of the setting, not necessarily of the "historical Robin Hood" whose very existence is questionable but was seemingly centuries later) had at least some French Norman blood.

French was spoken at court. Much of what became "high etiquette" was based on French court customs, and the well-known English disdain for the French and anything pertaining to them stems from this period of what some see as "foreign rule".

In short, Robin Hood most likely was French in the stories, though Pyle never seems to have mentioned it (nobility being French was simply expected and needed no explanation).

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    "Lochslea" - do you mean Loxley or Locksley or is it actually Lochslea in this book? – TheLethalCarrot Oct 15 at 11:12
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    @TheLethalCarrot Pick a spelling you like. In the days of the story setting, before the printing press had invaded England, spelling was highly variable; further, there has been at least one major pronunciation shift since Caxton set English spelling in movable type. – Zeiss Ikon Oct 15 at 11:16
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    I've only ever seen the two I mention but never Lochslea before and a quick search doesn't turn up anything relevant for Lochslea. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 15 at 11:17
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    This is a very interesting and detailed answer, but as it pertains to the question of the portrayal in Shrek, it seems to be missing a key link. Is there any indication that the above is why the makers of Shrek went with a French accent, despite a long history of Robin Hood being depicted in movie and television sans French accent? (After all, the other nobles depicted in the Shrek movies do not have French accents) – delinear Oct 15 at 11:29
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    Plus, a franch accent is funny, no? La la la. – JavaMikeMoore Oct 15 at 12:02
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Because the original version of Robin Hood was actually a French Tale.

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    Whilst this may, or may not, be true you should edit in some evidence that a) this is the case and b) that is why he was French in Shrek. This is just very unsubstantial as it is at the moment. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 16 at 14:01
  • I’d like to know if this is true. Great answer - please give some references – Vogon Poet Oct 16 at 21:32
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    The origins of a tale such as Robin Hood are clearly that of an oral tale. Many iterations have been done, so it is verydifficult to point out the origin. However, some likely influences can be identified. Le Jeu de Robin et Marion is a french balad of the early 13rd century with Robin (both french and british first name) and Marion (very similar ot Marianne to the ear) as main characters, and a noble villain that pursue Marion. However there are strong differences (neither Robin nor Marion are nobles, Robin is not a great warrior...). fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Jeu_de_Robin_et_Marion – Martigan Oct 17 at 8:23

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