The protagonist of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight does not die. The knight’s trial at the Green Chapel turns out to be a ruse made by the mysterious Green Knight. He wants to make sure of Sir Gawain’s true knightly nobility and personal qualities with such a trick.
According to the Christmas game rules, the Green Knight is supposed to strike back at Gawain. Gawain, after a yearlong journey, finally reaches the Green Chapel, where he sees the Green Knight sharpening his ax. Gawain is terrified of the upcoming trial and Bertilak de Hautdesert’s monstrous look. However, the protagonist honors the chivalrous principles of honor. He bares his neck, showing where to strike.
The Green Knight takes the first blow, but Gawain winces in fear as the blade almost touches his neck. Such cowardice enrages the Green Knight. The second attempt ends in the same way, and now even Sir Gawain himself becomes angry at his own cowardice. The final blow, which should be real, only scratches Sir Gawain’s skin. Then Bertilak de Hautdesert reveals his identity. He explains his deed and the meaning of the three hunting days that preceded this Christmas game.
Bertilak de Hautdesert states that Sir Gawain is one of the finest representatives of chivalry and an incredibly loyal friend. He notes that excessive love of life is the young knight’s only drawback. Sir Gawain is much more self-critical, accusing himself of cowardice and greed.