Lines 713-762

This passage is about the travel of Sir Gawain as he leaves Carlyle and ventures out into the wilderness to meet with the Green Knight and to carry out his promise of taking a blow from the Green Knight's ax. It all starts at a Christmas feast, when the Green Knight, uninvited, intrudes into the court while everyone is enjoying the feast. The Green Knight asks someone to challenge him and to strike him with his own ax, granting the knight the privilege of keeping the ax and taking the same hit in a year and a day. No one makes an attempt, and therefore, the king stands up and accepts the challenge. But Sir Gawain asks for this challenge instead of having his king take on this deadly task.

With this Sir Gawain cuts the Green Knight's head cleanly from his body until it rolls on the floor. Everyone around the table kicks the Green Knight's head under the table. The Green Knight then retrieves his head and leaves the court. However, in one year and a day from this moment, Sir Gawain is to repay his debt to the Green Knight. That is so that the Green Knight can behead Sir Gawain in return.

Now the time has arrived; Sir Gawain actually leaves November 1, about two months before his deadline, to find the Green Chapel which belongs to the Green Knight to see him. Sir Gawain encounters many obstacles as he travels to see the Green Knight. He has to endure the cold winter, and moreover, he has to fight all the monstrous creatures that try to attack him on his way. He has to climb many cliffs in the wild country and has to leave all of his family and friends behind him. He has to fight with serpents, savage wolves, bulls, bears and other creatures.

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Now with serpents he wars, now with savage wolves,

Now with wild men of the woods, that watched from the rocks,

Both with bulls and with bears, and with boars besides,

And giants that came gibbering from the jagged steeps.(Norton, 217)

Not only does Sir Gawain have to face these obstacles on his journey, but he also has to endure the cold weather. It is Christmas Eve and it is very cold and frigid:

Near slain by the sleet he sleeps in his irons

More nights than enough, among naked rocks,

Where clattering from the crest the cold stream ran

And hung in hard icicles high overhead.

Thus in peril and pain and predicaments dire

He rides across country till Christmas Eve, our knight. (Norton, 217)

With this predicament upon him, Sir Gawain is very afraid. He is cold, and he is alone in the forest. He prays to God and Mary. He wishes to be close to a place where he can hear mass for Christmas. Sir Gawain prays:

I beseech of Thee, Lord,

And Mary, thou mildest mother so dear,

Some harborage where haply I might hear mass

And Thy matins tomorrow--meekly I ask it,

And thereto proffer and pray my pater and ave and creed. (Norton, 218).

With this prayer, Sir Gawain sighs and laments his misfortune. He crosses himself, and he cries to God to help him because he is in great need. My passage ends here, but after this prayer, Sir Gawain suddenly sees a large castle, in a suspiciously green landscape where he is greeted with great anticipation. The castle, however, belongs to the Green Knight, but you will have to read another student's passage analysis to find out what else happens in the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
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