The Greek myth is of great significance in understanding why Alicia remains mute. The myth defines a female heroine who is betrayed by her husband, Admetus. He selfishly asks his wife, Alcestis, to die in his place. When she is returned to him from her death, Alcestis mysteriously remains mute. Alicia relates her own anguish to this myth. In the novel, both her father and husband choose that she dies. This represents a betrayal that is similar to that of Admetus. Hence, the tale explains to the audience why Alicia had chosen to remain mute after the death of Gabriel.