It was possibly in pursuit of his interest in the ‘difficult case’ that the poet turned, in Sir Gawain, to secular material. God is a tricky subject and the poet has to contend with greater resistance in both material and audience when he deals with scriptural and doctrinal matter. If instead of codes of universal justice and belief, one starts from the earthly code of chivalry, then the values are more ambivalent. It is possible for the poet to set up oppositions between a hero and his challenger without a clear identification of the moral agency which that challenger represents. And so, around the central concept of a traditional hero undertaking a romance quest, the poet creates a shifting, hazardous world, where the ideas which in many other romances are taken for granted are explicitly or implicitly questioned.