Something has gone horribly wrong: our 'hero' has raped a young woman, proving himself unfit to be a part of the community of King Arthur's Court. As punishment, the queen sends him on a quest, which is obviously designed to rehabilitate him. His goal? To discover what women most desire, proving himself more sensitive to women's desires and motivations in the process.
Although he doesn't exactly encounter hostile terrain or life-threatening monsters, the knight must contend with the 'ordeal' of women's individuality; no two agree on what women most desire, because they all desire different things! Luckily, he meets a wise old woman who offers guidance. She is old and ugly, however, and may prove to be the monster that was missing from the beginning of his quest.
Proving himself worthy to be re-integrated into the court with his acknowledgement that what women most desire is to have sovereignty over their husbands and lovers, the knight now faces a new obstacle: he's bound by his troth to marry the loathly lady. This obstacle gets in the way of what would be any knight's goal of marrying a young beautiful maiden and living happily ever after.
The knight passes the loathly lady's test, which is designed to determine whether he really understands and adheres to the doctrine of what women most desire. Proving himself worthy with his willingness to yield sovereignty to her, the knight wins the prize of a young, beautiful, obedient, and faithful wife.