Gawain and the Green Knight
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The Green Knight challenges King Arthur, King Arthur can cut off his head if he can do the same in a year and one day.
"Now if you are truly as bold as the people all say, you will grant me gladly the little game that I ask as my right" (lines 54-55).
" 'I beseech you, sire,' he said, 'Let this game be mine' " (lines 124-125).
Gawain takes the ax and tells King Arthur he will do it instead.
"He turned his trunk about, that baleful body that bled...He held his head in his hand up high before him" (lines 171-175).
Gawain cuts off the Green Knight's head and he leaves holding it in his hand.
"As the end of the year approaches, Gawain leaves on his quest to find the Green Chapel and fulfill his pledge...the lady attempts to seduce Gawain" (216).
Gawain leaves to find the Green Knight and is welcomed into a castle. The lady gives him a sash to protect him. Gawain does not tell the lady's husband.
"But hard as he hammered down, it hurt him no more than to nick the nape of his neck..." (lines 303-304).
The Green Knight makes fun of Gawain for being scared of his ax. The Knight eventually swings his ax, but only cuts Gawain's neck a little.
"Since now you're confessed so clean, acknowledging sins and bearing the plain penance of my point; I consider you polished as white and as perfectly clean as if you had never fallen..." (lines 383-386).
The lady turns out to be the Green Knight's wife. Gawain confesses to taking the sash. The Green Knight spares Gawain because he learned his lesson.
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