illustration of a green shield with an ornate design

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by Pearl-Poet

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Part 3, Verses 67–79, Lines 1648–1997 Summary

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During dinner, Sir Gawain and Lady Bertilak make conversation. Afterward, Gawain tells Lord Bertilak that he would prefer to leave in the morning. However, Bertilak persuades him to stay one more night, as who knows what the future may hold and Gawain should not pass up an opportunity to enjoy himself. Gawain agrees. 

The next day, Lord Bertilak hunts a fox while Lady Bertilak visits Gawain in his bedchamber again. However, Gawain is distraught at the thought of his approaching meeting with the Green Knight. Lady Bertilak tries to kiss him, but he gently refuses her. Seeking a reason why he has rebuffed her three times, she asks Gawain if he is in love with someone else. He tells her that he is not.

She then asks for something of his to remember him by, but since he has no baggage with him on the journey she offers him a precious ring or green sash. Gawain refuses the ring, considering it too valuable, and he initially refuses the sash as well—until Lady Bertilak tells him it has magical properties that can protect the wearer from weapons. 

Hearing this, Gawain accepts the green sash, believing it might help protect him against the Green Knight. Lady Bertilak asks him not to tell her husband about the sash, and she gives Gawain three kisses as she leaves. Gawain goes to confession in preparation for his appointment with the Green Knight. 

After confession at the chapel, Gawain joins in the Christmas festivities and greets Lord Bertilak upon his return with three kisses given in exchange for a fox-pelt. Gawain then requests a guide for the morning so he can leave for the Green Chapel. Bertilak agrees, and Gawain says his farewells to the lords and ladies of Hautdesert Castle before retiring to his chambers for the night. He sleeps uneasily.

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Part 3, Verses 46–66, Lines 1126–1647 Summary

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Part 4, Verses 80–87, Lines 1998–2211 Summary