The antagonist in the novel is first portrayed as a helpful and supportive husband whose only intentions lie in the improvement of Alicia’s state of mind. Furthermore, Theo presents himself as an innocent victim of mental health. As he describes how he struggles to get away from his aggressive father, the audience perceives him to be a good man. Conversely, Theo is narcissistic and deceives the Grove’s administration that he only wanted to help Alicia out of good intentions. For instance, Indira advocates for Theo, “Alicia has begun to talk. She’s communicating through Theo—he is her advocate. It’s already happening” (Michaelides, 71). However, he only intended to get rid of her and any incriminating evidence that could tie him to the night that Gabriel was murdered. Theo manages to fool everyone in the hospital.
Alicia also deceives Theo into thinking that she did not recognize him from the night that he had intruded into her house and attacked her. She uses her diary to send Theo on a wild-goose chase. Furthermore, she describes a false account of the night that Gabriel died so that she can confirm that Theo was her attacker, “That first time I met him in the therapy room, I wasn’t sure—there was something familiar about him, but different—I recognized his eyes, not just the color but the shape” (Michaelides, 253). Alicia’s deception ensures that the audience is uncertain of the identity of the masked intruder until the final part of the novel — thereby creating suspense.
Deception is also outlined through the role of the media, which is represented to be more speculative rather than informative. The theories formed by radio and morning chat shows, about Alicia’s involvement in the murder, were not entirely factual. Speculative news is aired since it sells more to their target audience. With the need to remain profitable, media organizations deceive masses.