In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Pearl Poet emphasizes certain aspects of a knight's appearance and mannerisms. According to the Knight's Code of Chivalry ("Code"), the main components of a knight which pertain to this story are the obligation to obey those placed in authority, to guard the honor of fellow knights, to avoid deceit, to speak the truth, to persevere to the end in any enterprise begun, to respect the honor of women, to never refuse a challenge from an equal, and to never to turn [your] back upon a foe. Sir Gawain either already has all of these qualities, or he learns from his mistakes to learn them in the end of the poem. Therefore, Sir Gawain should be considered a knight even though he sometimes admittedly does the immoral thing because he always learns his lesson and will uphold the code in the future.
The first group of these traits that occur selectively in Arthur's court-to guard the honor of fellow knights and to never refuse a challenge from an equal-are mainly all upheld by Gawain. When the Green Knight rides on horseback into Arthur's banquet hall and challenges anybody to take him on in the "beheading game," no other knight volunteers except for Sir Gawain as he wants to guard the honor of Arthur's knights. If none of the knights had volunteered and Arthur had to play the game himself, the knights would have been seen as cowards, but since Gawain rose to the challenge, he is defending everybody's honor. Additionally, when the Green Knight appears in front of Sir Gawain, both of them are equals. Therefore when the Green Knight offers the challenge and Sir Gawain accepts, he accepts a challenge from an equal, which upholds the code.
The traits that pertain only to Gawain's endeavors with Lord Bertilak-to avoid deceit and speak the truth, to persevere to the end in any enterprise begun,.
and to never to turn [one's] back upon a foe- Gawain mostly does not adhere to the code, but he learns from his mistakes and is humble about them.