Sir Gawain and the Green Knight follows a classic quest formula, with a knight receiving a challenge, going out on a journey to meet that challenge, and then returning home to tell everyone about his adventurous quest. At Christmas, a knight who is completely green rides into King Arthur's hall. The Green Knight suggests a game: Any knight brave enough to strike off the Green Knight's head may keep the Green Knight's ax, but that man must accept a return stroke in one year. Gawain courageously accepts the challenge and beheads the Green Knight. The knight picks up his severed head and leaves, telling Gawain to look for the Green Chapel. Near the end of the year, Gawain goes out to search for the Green Chapel. He finds a castle in the deep in the wilderness. The lord of the castle asks Gawain to stay until New Year's Day, because the Green Chapel is close to the castle. The lord proposes an agreement: He will go out hunting while Gawain stays at the castle, and the two men will exchange whatever they have gained at the end of the day. The exchange of winnings takes place over a course of three days. Everyday, the lord of the castle goes out hunting, while the lady of the castle tries to seduce Gawain in his bed. Gawain politely refuses her offers, although he does give her a few kisses. Lastly, she offers him a magic belt that will protect the life of anybody who wears it. Gawain repays the lord his lady's kisses, but he does not mention the belt. Gawain keeps his appointment at the Green Chapel. The Green Knight raises his axe to cut off Gawain's head, but he drew back twice. The third time, the Green Knight barely nicks Gawain on his neck. The Green Knight reveals that he was Gawain's host and that Morgan le Fay made his appearance as the Knight possible. He tells Gawain that the first two blows were for the first two days of their agreement, when Gawain fairly repaid him his wife's kisses. The small cut was for accepting... [continues]
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