Greed and temptation are two attributes that lead Lady Bertilak to deceive Gawain in the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She constantly entices Gawain to steal her possessions by promising him they will protect him. When he agrees, she transports him to another realm where they meet the Green Knight, a mysterious figure dressed in green armor. The Green Knight challenges Gawain to a trial of arms to determine who is the most worthy knight. If Gawain defeats the Green Knight he will be granted Greed's treasure but if the Green Knight conquers him then his life will be spared and Bertilak's gifts will belong to him.
During the trial of arms it becomes clear that the Green Knight is no ordinary opponent as he proves himself to be far more skilled at fighting than Gawain could have imagined. As the battle continues it becomes apparent that the Green Knight is actually winning until just before he is about to strike down Gawain. At this moment Lady Bertilak arrives on the scene and tricks the Green Knight into sparing Gawain's life. She claims that if he wishes to save himself that he should return home immediately because her husband has many friends who can help him avoid punishment for what they did today.
After hearing this, the Green Knight refuses Bertilak's offer and leaves the scene.
Her persona proves to play a vital part in the poem, since "a comprehensive knowledge of the temptation episodes" is required for a complete grasp of the poem. Lady Bertilak is also responsible for...
The narrative is about Sir Gawain, one of King Arthur's knights, and the mysterious Green Knight, as the poem's title indicates. Between the two characters are aspects of chivalric romance such as knightly acts, seduction and temptation, and untamed settings. The poem also alludes to past events in Arthur's life.
Gawain is described as young, handsome, bold, and adventurous. He is a member of the Round Table and has earned the nickname "the Worthy." Although he tries to avoid conflict with the Green Knight, they always seem to meet again. The last time they do so is at the tournament where they fight for their lives; the Green Knight is victorious but allows Gawain to live. After this event, no more information is given about either character until years later when news arrives that the Green Knight has been killed by an arrow shot by Queen Guenevere. At this point, it can be assumed that Gawain has survived the battle too.
Other characters mentioned in the poem include Lancelot, who is described as brave and loyal; Kay, who is noted for his wisdom; and Enid, who is praised for her beauty.
It is because of him that the round table society exists among other things.
Lady Bertilak approaches Sir Gawain three times throughout his stay, as her feelings for him become more obvious and even strong with each visit. Despite Sir Gawain's best efforts, he succumbs to Lady Bertilak's overtures, resulting in a minor wounded from the Green Knight's axe later on.
During their first meeting, she tries to convince him that she is innocent of any wrongdoing, but he does not believe her. During their second meeting, she tells him that if he wants to know who killed King Arthur then he should go to the Green Chapel where he will find out the truth. He does so, only to be attacked by the Green Knight who wounds him before leaving him too. After the Green Knight has gone, Lady Bertilak comes to see how he is doing and brings medicine for his wound.
Their third meeting takes place at the feast held by Queen Guenevere after she returns from her pilgrimage. Here Lady Bertilak attempts to win over the crowd by telling them about the great deeds of King Arthur, which causes much discontent between her and the Queen. When the mood has died down, the Lady asks Sir Gawain if he would like to go for a ride. They travel for some time until they come to a forest where they stop to rest. As they are sitting there talking, Lady Bertilak pulls off her glove to show him her hand; it is completely green except for the red rose that grows inside the castle of King Arthur.