Green Knight

Green Knight

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  • “That he dares to stoutly exchange one stroke for another...And I will stand still for your stroke, steady on the floor,/ Providing you honor my right, when my inning comes,/ to repay.”
  • (Lines 69-78)
  • One day at the Round Table, a green knight walks in. The Green Knight asks the knights to play a game with him.
  • “I myself am the weakest, of course, and in wit the most feeble;/ My life would be least missed, if we let out the truth..And since I have asked for it first, let it fall to me.”
  • (Lines 136-139)
  • King Arthur steps up to accept the game, but Sir Gawain tells him that he is more worthless and then proceeds to accept the game.
  • “Sir Gawain laid hold of the ax and he hefted it high,/ His pivot foot thrown forward before him on the floor,/ And then, swiftly, he slashed at the naked neck.”
  • (Lines 152-154)
  • Sir Gawain accepts the Green Knight’s ax and chops off the Green Knight’s head. The Green Knight carries his head away and leaves.
  • “She swiftly unfastened the sash that encircled her waist...And she pressed the sash upon him and begged him to take it,/ And Gawain did, and she gave him the gift with great pleasure/ And begged him, for her sake, to say not a word,/ And to keep it hidden from her lord. And he said he would.”
  • (Lines 211, 241-244)
  • Sir Gawain goes to fill his half of the deal and stays at a lord’s castle for a few days. The wife of the lord gives him a sash that will protect his life. Sir Gawain does not tell the lord of this. 
  • “He raises that ax up lightly and flashes it down,/ And that blinding bit bites in at the knight’s bare neck-/ But hard as he hammered it down, it hurt him no more/ Than to nick the nape of his neck, so it split the skin.” 
  • The Green Knight strikes Gawain, but he barely cuts his neck.
  • (Lines 301-304)
  • “That sash you wear by your scabbard belongs to me; My own wife gave it to you, as I ought to know./ I know, too, of your kisses and all your words/ And my wife’s advances, for I myself arranged them. It was I who sent her to test you.”
  • The Green Knight speaks of how he tested Gawain and how he passed it except for keeping the secret of the sash. They make amends and part ways.
  • (Lines 350-355)
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