A green knight enters King Arthur’s court wielding no weapon for a fight. King Arthur welcomes him and asks him to join them for dinner.
"... I am the head of this court. They call me Arthur. Get down from your horse, I beg you, and join us for dinner…” (lines 1-36).
The Green Knight asks for a challenge for someone to strike him wherever they wish and in exchange he will do the same to the one who challenges him.
"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" (lines 70-73).
“Arthur gave him answer / And said, “Sir noble knight, / If it’s a duel you’re after, / We’ll furnish you your fight." (lines 57-60).
“‘Now if you, my worthy lord,’ said Gawain to the King, / ‘Would command me to step from the dais and stand with you there." (lines 125-126).
Sir Gawain asked King Arthur to in his place do the Green Knight’s challenge. Sir Gawain, then, at the Green Knight’s request strikes him right at his neck and the Green Knight’s head falls off.
"So that any man there might note the naked neck. / Sir Gawain laid hold of the ax and he hefted it high… And then, swiftly, he slashed at the naked neck… The fair head fell from the neck to the floor of the hall... “ (lines 151-158).
"I’ll give you nerely this sash that’s of slighter value… For the man that goes into battle in this green lace, / As long as he keeps it looped around him, / No man under Heaven can hurt him, whoever may try," (lines 210-234)
The lady of the place Sir Gawain stays at offers him gifts and kisses. He refuses her, but eventually takes a green sash that will protect him from all harm.
"My lady gay, I can hardly take gifts at the moment; / Having nothing to give, I’d be wrong to take gifts in turn…" (lines 203-204)
Sir Gawain finds the Green Knight sharpening his blade in a rugged place by a chapel. The Green Knight mocks Sir Gawain for wincing, and Sir Gawain says he will not flinch again.
“You can’t be Gawain" (line 261)
The Green Knight takes his strike at Sir Gawain and it does not kill him. Sir Gawain exclaims that he lived and the challenge is over and he will attack the Green Knight if he tries to hit him again. The Green Knight reveals something to Sir Gawain and they make up.
A man who’s true to his word / There’s nothing he needs to fear; / You failed me, though, on the third / Exchange, so I’ve tapped you here. (lines 364- 349)