of the other. The group of people celebrate Christmas, with the ugly woman (whom we later learn to be Morgan le Fay), sitting at the head of the table. Gawain is fascinated by the beautiful woman, the wife of Bertilak - known as the false Guinevere.
It is then time for Gawain to leave, but the host asks him to stay at Hautdesert until the New Year since the Green Chapel is nearby. Gawain accepts. The host informs Gawain that they are going out hunting the next morning, but that Gawain must rest up for his challenge the next day. Gawain wakes to find the beautiful woman entering his chamber. She flirts shamefully with him, but he is taken up only with his challenge at the Green Chapel. The host again suggests that they put off the visit to the Green Chapel yet one more day. Gawain gladly accepts.Part Three
The lady enters Gawain's bedchamber and he sits bolt upright, demanding to know what she is doing. He receives two chaste kisses. At dinner that evening the beautiful woman flirts with Gawain shamelessly. The next morning the beautiful lady once again enters Gawain's bedchamber. She again flirts with him but his conscientious loyalty to his host stops him from giving in to the temptation. The lady offers him a series of gifts. He refuses a ring, but accepts a sash, which she claims, has magical powers. He agrees to hide it from her husband and they kiss. Gawain goes to confession and night falls. He feasts with his host and goes mournfully to bed, preparing for the next day's trip to the Green Chapel.Part Four
Daylight comes and Gawain's armour and clothes are laid out before him. He dresses, not forgetting to wear the sash. He mounts his horse and rides towards the Green Chapel. Gawain's guide tells of the great cruelty of the Green Knight. He tempts Gawain by offering to tell no one of his cowardice if he decides not to attend the chapel. Gawain resists and shows us that he has not entirely lost his sense of honour during his slothful stay at Hautdesert. Gawain sees no chapel, but an ancient barrow that seems to him the work of pagan tribes rather than Christians. Gawain calls out and the Green Knight comes to him, lauding his bravery at keeping his word. The knight raises his axe and Gawain flinches. The knight chides him, saying that he did not flinch when in the same position. The knight raises the axe again, Gawain does not flinch, and the Green Knight stops to praise his bravery. The knight swings once more, draws a drop of blood and Gawain throws himself back ready to fight, the promise having been kept. We are then shown that the Green Knight is the same man as the host at Hautdesert. The first two aborted axe thrusts were reward for Gawain's faithfulness to his host in the first two meetings with the beautiful woman, the slight nick a punishment for accepting the sash.
Gawain makes for home, encountering many dangers and adventures on his way. He reaches the court and is joyfully received by the courtiers. He wears the sash as a reminder to himself of the meaning of loyalty and his faithfulness to the chivalric code. The end of the poem reiterates the opening lines: 'After the sege and assaut was sesed at Troye', thus creating a circular structure to the poem, showing us that it is just one story of many in the tales of King Arthur and fits into the cycle of history.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|