Alcestis is one of those really problematic figures for a feminist — she’s SUCH a creature of the patriarchy, and yet she’s obviously a strong and brave woman. If you don’t know the myth, here it is in a nutshell: she volunteers to go to Hades in her husband’s place when it is his time to die, and then Heracles (a friend of her husband’s) invades Hades and brings her back to the land of the living. So yeah, she is a self-sacrificing wife who recognizes that her husband’s life is worth more than her own (ew), but she is also brave enough to stand up and say “take me instead” and strong enough to survive three days in the realm of the dead with enough life left in her that she can take back her place among the living.
This is exactly what I wanted to examine, and I’m so glad to hear from readers who are thinking about Alcestis’s story in similar terms. Also, it’s never bad to see your book being called a profound reading experience!