"If any man holds himself, here in this house, so hardy, So bold in his blood—and so brainless in his head— That he dares to stoutly exchange one stroke for another, I shall let him have as my present this lovely gisarme, This ax, as heavy as he’ll need, to handle as he likes, And I will abide the first blow, bare-necked as I sit" (65-70).
The Green Knight requests that the men of the court participate in a game in which someone will strike him with his own axe. Then a year and one day from then, he'd do the same to them.
"Come to the Green Chapel, I charge you, and take A stroke the same as you’ve given, for well you deserve To be readily requited on New Year’s morn. Many men know me, the Knight of the Green Chapel; Therefore if you seek to find me, you shall not fail. Come or be counted a coward, as is fitting" (175-180).
Gawain takes part in the game and cuts the head off of the Green Knight. The head rolls around the room until the Green Knight picks it up, at which point the head reiterates the terms of the deal.
"As the end of the year approaches, Gawain leaves on his quest to find the Green Chapel and fulfill his pledge. After riding through wild country and encountering many dangers, he comes upon a splendid castle. The lord of the castle welcomes Gawain and invites him to stay with him and his lady for a few days" (237).
"The lord proposes that he will go out to hunt each day while Gawain stays at the castle. At the end of the day, they will exchange what they have won. While the lord is out hunting, the lady attempts to seduce Gawain. Gawain resists her, however, and on the first two days accepts only kisses, which he gives to the lord at the end of each day in exchange for what the lord has gained in the hunt" (237).
"For the man who goes to battle in this green lace, As long as he keeps it looped around him, No man under Heaven can hurt him, whoever may try, For nothing on earth, however uncanny, can kill him” (223-226).
One day, Gawain receives three kisses from the Lord's wife. The lady asks Gawain for a love token, but he has nothing to give her. She offers him a ring, which he refuses to take. Then, she offers him a green girdle, that apparently has magical powers that will keep him safe from death. He accepts this gift and later, he gives the Lord the three kisses and doesn't tell him about the girdle.
Gawain goes to find the Green Knight. Once he finds him, the Green Knight finishes the deal. He attempts to slay Gawain, but Gawain flinches, which he mocks him for. Gawain tells him to just get it over with and when he does it, he only leaves a small cut on his neck. Gawain gets up and dares him to fight, but the Green Knight refuses. He then reveals that he was the Lord the entire time and that Gawain was brave and fulfilled his side of the deal.
“You can’t be Gawain... who’s thought so good, A man who’s never been daunted on hill or dale! For look how you flinch for fear before anything’s felt! I never heard tell that Sir Gawain was ever a coward" (252-255).