Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Summary

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Summary
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The story is written by Gawain Poet. It begins on the Eve of the New Year when King Arthur organizes a feast. During the celebration, a strange figure only referred to as the Green Knight appears unexpectedly. He throws a challenge at the leader of the group or any brave person to represent them in the game. The Knight allows the one who accepts his challenge to cut the Knight’s head with an axe. The condition given is that the person that takes the challenger finds him in 1 year to get a similar blow.

Arthur is confused and unsure about what to do. When the Green Knight makes a mockery of Arthur, he accepts this challenge. Before Arthur strikes the Green Knight, it is Sir Gawain who quickly comes forward to take the challenge. He grasps the axe and cuts off the head the Knight in one precise blow. People inside the court are amazed. Now headless, the Knight takes the cut off the head. As the knight goes, he repeats the condition of the agreement. Gawain is reminded to search for the Knight at the agreed time. The festivities continue after the Knight leaves though Gawain feels uneasy.

As the agreed time approaches, Gawain begins to prepare to leave for the journey to search for the Green Knight. He picks the best armor, properly mounts the horse and sets off to North Wales. Gawain travels across northwest Britain wilderness. He meets all types of beasts and sufferings but still soldiers on despite the desperate situations. He finds a castle as he travels. Gawain gets a warm welcome from the lord. Gawain is introduced to his lady as well as the other old woman. The host later referred to as Bertilak and Gawain strike a deal. It spells that the host should give what he acquires from hunting for what Gawain gets while staying in the Castle.

On the first hunting day, the hunter gets tired. On the other hand, Gawain goes to sleep late. In the morning, the wife of the lord attempts to seduce Gawain. He refuses her advances. However, she steals a kiss from Gawain. In the evening, the host gives venison captured to Gawain.

Similarly, Gawain offers a kiss, as that is what the lady gave. The next day, the hunter gets a boar. That day, the lady kissed Gawain twice. In exchange for the head of the boar, he kisses the host twice.

Day 3, the lord manages to get a fox. The lady, on the other hand, gives three kisses to Gawain. She wants something like a ring as a love token. Gawain does not accept the lady’s request. At the same time, he refuses any offers from the lady. There is a girdle that the lady has. The lady heaps praise on the girdle, claiming it has magical powers to protect the one who puts it on from dying. Gawain finds this intriguing and takes the cloth. During the exchange, Gawain offers three kisses instead of the green girdle. He gets fox skin in return. They all go to sleep happy. Gawain has to leave the next morning to search the Green Knight.

On the agreed day, Gawain wears the armor with the girdle. He is accompanied by a guide to show him the estate. As they approach forest border, the guide gives Gawain a promise not to tell anyone if Gawain decides to leave the quest. However, Gawain is determined to go on. He finds the Green Chapel and shouts for the Green Knight come out.

Gawain wants terms of the agreement to be met. He offers his neck. Green Knight feigns two blows. When doing the third feigns Green Knight pricks part Gawain’s neck. A small amount of blood is drawn.

Gawain discovers that the real name of the Green Knight is Bertilak. He is the lord at the last castle Gawain stayed in before continuing with the quest. The reason why he drew blood was to pay for Gawain’s dishonesty during the last exchange. Even with that, Gawain is still a strong man of the land.  Bertilak clarifies to Gawain the old woman he found in the castle is Morgan le Faye, an aunt to Gawain. Gawain is happy that he is alive but unhappy for his dishonesty. To atone for his failure, Gawain decides to wear the girdle. The other knights wear the girdle as well as a sign of support.