->''"His enemies all fear him, you can barely hear him, invincible and inaudible - Sotto Voce!"''
-->-- '''Series/TheMicallefProgram'''

A character who never speaks, at least not in a way understandable by the audience. There are three variants:
* TheVoiceless: A character who ''can'' speak, but never or rarely does.
** Its sub-variant TheSilentBob: A character who does not speak, but still expresses a lot.
* TheSpeechless: Someone who does not speak onscreen because they cannot speak at all.
* TheUnintelligible: A character who speaks, but is for one reason or another unintelligible to the audience.

Note that this category includes those who do not speak understandably, or at all, as a RunningGag. But it does not include characters who have a legitimate reason not to speak (e.g., most babies, people in comas, mute).

This character may be a SilentPartner.

Compare with HeWhoMustNotBeSeen. Has nothing to do with HeWhoMustNotBeNamed.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Sumiyoshi of ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' never talks, but communicates solely by speech bubbles, in a Kansai/Geordie accent.
* Subversion: No Face in ''Anime/{{Spirited Away}}'' usually fits this trope as he is typically only able to communicate in sighs, murmurs and gestures that often leave the other characters baffled as to what he's trying to tell them, but he does temporarily become able to talk halfway through the film.
* Most ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' are [[PokemonSpeak restricted to speaking their own names]], although the humans around them sometimes take a long time to cotton on to their intentions.
* Most of the Angels in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' are completely silent, and it's unknown if they even have the capacity to speak. While one Angel does have a conversation with Rei (by assuming her form and voice within her mind), only [[spoiler:Kaworu]], the final Angel, ever actually talks.
* Rise Matsumoto of Manga/YuruYuri is never audibly heard by anyone other than Nishigaki-sensei (and possibly Chitose), who will then comment on what she said, or say it to the other characters. Anytime she speaks, her mouth moves but nothing can be heard. One character [[LampshadeHanging says she can't hear what]] Rise is saying when watching the play that Rise is in and "speaking" in episode 12 of Season 2.

[[folder:Audio Play]]
* The Protagonist in ''AudioPlay/YandereNoOnnaNoKo'' is never heard during any of the tracks. The girls always reiterate or imply what he's saying.
* ''AudioPlay/YandereHeaven'' provides a female variety for the original series. Her/his dialogue is bounced back by the guys when she/he does speak.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Black Bolt, king of ComicBook/TheInhumans from the ''MarvelUniverse'', has a voice that destroys anything in its path, whether he wants it to or not. Because of this, he never speaks in the presence of allies (and even with enemies, usually only as a last resort).
** He's also been subjected to PowerCreepPowerSeep. If he ''whispered,'' you'd be ripped to pieces. If he shouted, it'd be like a nuke. Maybe several of 'em.
*** Hell, if he happens to whimper when hurt he makes the whole goddamn planet he's on tremble.
* The torso from the ComicBook/TwoThousandAD strip ''ComicBook/StrontiumDog''. He has no head and therefore no mouth, yet everyone seems to understand him just fine.
* Snake Eyes from ''ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel'' can't speak due to his face being horribly scarred in a helicopter explosion.
* "Pee-wee" from Creator/HarveyComics' ''ComicBook/RichieRich'' stories can understand everything said to him but never vocalises. His big brother "Freckles" always knows what his little brother wants to say and speaks for him.

* God in ''Film/{{Dogma}}''. Since God's voice is the voice of creation, living humans would die instantly if they ever heard her speak out loud (though saying "Beep" seems to be an exception). Handily, she has the Metatron around to pass on instructions to mortals.
* Possibly subverted by Cotton from the ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' movies. He's lost his tongue and the parrot talks for him. Of course, the parrot only uses nautical terms to do so, so someone has to interpret for the parrot. The lone exception is when, after passing the order down the line to "Watch the boat," the parrot passes the order to Cotton, who dejectedly realizes that not only is there no one else to pass it along to, he couldn't do so even if there was.
* {{Franchise/Zorro}}'s manservant, usually named Bernardo, is mute in most versions. He often pretends to be deaf as well in order to gather intelligence for his master (who is able to understand him). In some DarkerAndEdgier versions, this is the result of his tongue having been cut out by the bad guys; in the [=1990s=] TV remake - which featured a teenage version of this character named Felipe whom Don Diego had previously rescued from a battlefield - it was explained as psychosomatic. Naturally, the episode that explains this also includes Felipe's dramatic one-shot cry of 'Zorro!' just in time to alert Z to a bad guy behind him.
* Harpo [[Creator/MarxBrothers Marx]]. For a character who never speaks, he isn't especially ''quiet''...
* Mitch, the trainee from ''Film/{{Waiting}}'', is a subversion. After several {{Preemptive Shut Up}}s and interruptions, he cracks and says everything that he wanted to say over the course of the day.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Stan from ''Series/WillAndGrace'', who also doubles as an [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen unseen character]], is [[TheVoiceless never ever heard speaking, by the audience at least]].
* The Creation King, ''Series/KamenRiderBlack'''s UltimateEvil, "speaks" using deep sounds that only his servants can understand. Luckily for us, those are interpreted for plot exposition.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', the wife of an Episcopalian couple is never heard talking, and is at one point told by her husband to stop making a scene when she audibly exhales. Like most elements in Scrubs, this is taken to a deeper and more serious level when the husband explains to JD and Turk that he and his wife don't communicate or get along well outside of the bedroom, and now that is being threatened by his erectile dysfunction.
* The Butler from ''Series/ThePrisoner''. Originally the role was going to be a speaking one, as a tall, erudite gentleman. However, Patrick [=McGoohan=] decided to be a little less on the nose and cast dwarf actor Angelo Muscat in the role, also making it silent in the process.
* Morn on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. Of course, the rest of the cast jokes that you can never get him to shut up.
** Morn laughs at a joke once, albeit in a muffled voice.
** Also the Breen, allies of the Dominion and the Cardassians (who are also FacelessGoons as well), speak in unintelligible noise ... but all the characters around them, notably the Female Changeling, seem to understand them perfectly.
* [[BadassDriver The Stig]] in the current format of ''Series/TopGear'', also extended to The Stig's American cousin, The Stig's African cousin, and The Stig's lorry driving cousin.
* [[Series/TheSootyShow Sooty]], in all his incarnations, never speaks as far as the audience can hear merely whispering his words into the ear of his human handler. His companion Sweep also has a restricted vocabulary, though in his case he does make a squeaking noise. In fact Sue, the female panda puppet, being the only one of the puppets that can speak...
* Maris, Niles' first wife on ''Series/{{Frasier}},'' never makes any vocal sounds onscreen despite being quite an influential character all her offscreen dialogue is related to the viewer through discussions of it by other characters, including RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear. She is also [[SheWhoMustNotBeSeen rarely seen in any way]] (except once as a silhouette, and once more in a brief glimpse of her completely covered in bandages in the hospital.)
* Creator/RowanAtkinson, as Series/MrBean, is based mostly on silent comedy, so he rarely speaks. Atkinson has also said that the voice hurts his throat.
* ''Series/TheMicallefProgram''. Australian comedian Shaun Micallef had a skit where he was a StylisticSuck SpaghettiWestern hero called Sotto Voce who'd ride up to characters on his white horse, whisper his lines faintly, then ride off (or shoot them) while they were trying to work out what he'd just said.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Darth Nihilus of ''StarWars KnightsOfTheOldRepublic II'' "spoke" only in guttural whispers in a way that was utterly unintelligible to all but the characters of the game.
** It actually sounds an awful lot like the sounds made by the metal spider-things in ''Film/LostInSpace'', the 1998 film.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', three of the four Greybeards cannot speak even in a whisper, as their voices are powerful enough to cause earthquakes. Thus, Arngeir speaks for them.
** The game draws attention to this in a rather awesome manner; if the player attempts to talk to one of them, they will greet him/her with a single whispered word, and the entire castle shakes as they say it.
* The main character of ''VideoGame/EdnaAndHarveyHarveysNewEyes'' usually gets interrupted before she can get a word in. However, that doesn't stop other characters from guessing (with surprising accuracy) what she was going to say.
* Saarebas, in the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' universe, are Qunari who are unfortunate enough to be born as mages. The cultural response to their existence appears to be [[MouthStitchedShut sewing their lips together]], so that they can't utter spells unless their assigned handler makes it possible. Thus, they almost never speak.
* In ''VideoGame/RhythmHeaven'', Cam in ''Fever.'' While he does make an audible "Hmm!" sound in the beginning tutorial, he never says anything with a speech bubble.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Pom Pom in ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' cartoons. He bubbles. Also the Poopsmith, who's taken a vow of silence.
* While most of the animal cast in ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' are unintelligible, Mole the blind mole, Cro-Marmot the marmot, and Mime the reindeer mime have never spoken a word in the entire series.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/SquidRow'', the homeless guy uses TalkingWithSigns.
* Gimp Bear, in ''Webcomic/BearNuts''. It hasn't been explictly established whether Gimp is TheVoiceless or TheSpeechless, though the narrative hints at the former.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Maine, from ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', is only capable of growling menacingly due to being [[spoiler:shot in the throat.]] Even before that, he never actually spoke on screen.
* Screech, at the SuperHeroSchool Whateley Academy in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, has the 'Black Bolt' problem. She's such a powerful siren that if she makes a sound, the objects or people in front of her mouth are likely to be incinerated. She's incredibly depressed over this.
* Joel Deitrick of ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'': Evolution is notable for not speaking at all during his time on the island, his only lines of actual dialogue coming from flashbacks.
* Darius in ''WebVideo/MisadventuresOfAwkwardBlackGirl''. J first meets him when she partners with him for an icebreaker at work. Neither she nor the audience can understand him. In another episode, at Fred's party, he is the DJ and tries to start everyone singing "Happy Birthday" but nobody can hear him so everybody is off.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Sheep in the Big City}}'''s shorts showcased a ridiculous example of this: The Inaudible Man. A thief/villain who managed to steal Queen Elizabeth's necklace and kidnap the segment's presenter in the middle of the day and recording... and no one heard anything.
* Kenny from ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' mumbles through his parka, though there are a few rare occasions when he speaks without it (such as at the end of TheMovie).
** Kenny's voice is sometimes barely intelligible. Also, everyone else understands him perfectly, so sometimes you can figure out exactly what he's saying from the context and cadence. If you pay close enough attention, [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar it becomes clear that Kenny can say words that would get bleeped if anyone else spoke them]].
** When Kenny's in his superhero guise of Mysterion, he's perfectly intelligible (and sounds rather like the Christian Bale version of Batman).
* Skurge the Executioner, Annihilus, and Galactus from ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes''.
* Mr. Funny from ''WesternAnimation/TheMrMenShow'' is the only character that does not talk, but only communicates by doing miming acts like Harpo Marx, imitates other, and honks at times during the show.
* A running joke in ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' involved the character Hobie Brown (the future vigilante Prowler) being interrupted whenever he was about to speak. He finally speaks in the series' penultimate episode.
* Shimmer never speaks in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''. She's a bit of a ButtMonkey, so a RunningGag is that she usually ends up knocked out by the heroes before she even has a chance to open her mouth.
** Also true for a lot of heroes and villains due to the show having LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. Most of the members of the [[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]] and [[LegionOfDoom Injustice League]] still have yet to speak, for instance.
* ''WesternAnimation/WallaceAndGromit'': Gromit!
* Leonoardo from the "Clyde Crashcup" shorts of the original ''WesternAnimation/TheAlvinShow'' would only talk by whispering in people's ears, but was inaudible to the audience.
** He did speak once, when he was angry at Clyde, but in an unintelligible whimper; it still wasn't very loud.
* The Roadrunner and the Coyote never talk.
** At least not to each other. When the Coyote met Bugs Bunny it was another story; "Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius."
* Tom and Jerry are, for the most part, entirely voiceless (though "Spike the bulldog" does talk at times).
** Well, if you don't count when Jerry does something particularly painful to Tom and he howls in pain.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FantasticFour'' animated series, Black Bolt communicates in sign language because a whisper can kill. When his brother imprisons the Inhumans in a "Negative Energy Barrier", the only thing that can break the barrier is Black Bolt choosing to send all the people into underground bunkers and then speak. All of the city above ground was utterly destroyed, but so was the barrier. (It was necessary because the air was getting thin, and all other attempts to bring down the barrier failed.)
* In the more recent Marvel SharedUniverse cartoons, Black Bolt speaks one word per appearance. It is always the most insanely powerful move the cast has - and it's always a ''whisper.'' (This includes an adaptation of the same storyline once adapted by the 90s Fantastic Four series. This time, bringing down the barrier doesn't destroy the whole city.)
** On one occasion, Ultron's plan to end the world was to ''subject Black Bolt to ColdBloodedTorture until he made the slightest groan,'' which would be broadcasted worldwide. (And here ''Assemble'' was supposed to be LighterAndSofter than EMH.) In the battle, the Avengers managed to stop Ultron's machine and the only one in front of Black Bolt when the torture devices finally got a sound out of him was [[HoistByHisOwnPetard Ultron himself]]. The previously totally invincible villain who'd dogged the Avengers for several seasons was ''instantly torn to shreds'' by the small groan Black Bolt was doing everything to ''restrain.''
* Boomhauer's father from ''WesternAnimation/{{King of the Hill}}'' never speaks on screen, on at least one occasion he had just finished a conversation and Hank and the others complement how intelligent he is.
* The Snorch in ''WesternAnimation/AaahhRealMonsters'' never speaks, only making grunt sounds with Zimbo acting as his voice box. Subverted in one episode where The Snorch did have a voice and spoke very fluently.
* Grubber of the Gang Green Gang in ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' only communicates by blowing raspberries, although he is very adept at imitating other characters' voices.
* Solomon Grundy only speaks in unintelligible grunts in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', mostly due to his mouth being stapled shut.
** ComicBook/BlackOrchid is also completely silent. It serves to make her seem more mysterious, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen but early script drafts indicate that she was intended to talk]].
* Miss Othmar and the other adults in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Peanuts}}'' specials are unintelligible to the audience, with their speech coming out (to us) as "wonk-wonk-wonk." The kids, however, ''can'' understand them - though since the kids only speak English, this leads to awkward moments of the kids [[RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear repeating what has just been said to them by way of translation]].
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons,'' Maggie normally doesn't speak simply because she's a baby. But even in the future in the episode "Lisa's Wedding," she's never able to say a word without being interrupted - and all the while, a number of other characters complain that she never shuts up. In other episodes set in the future, she's often conveniently somewhere else for the duration of the episode in order to avoid having to answer the question of what Maggie will actually sound like. One Christmas episode does feature her as an adult and a rockstar famed for her magnificent voice. Unfortunately, due to a [[RuleOfFunny poorly explained pregnancy complication]], she is medically forbidden from speaking until the baby is born. At which point she's back to being interrupted before actually saying anything.
** Subverted only once, at the conclusion of a flashback episode which reveals that Lisa's first word was "Bart." After Homer puts Maggie to bed, she removes her pacifier and speaks her first word with no one around to hear it. [[spoiler:That first word? "[[HeartwarmingMoment Daddy]]."]]
* Ruffled Feather of ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Underdog}} The Go-Go Gophers]]'' always emitted sputters and sound effect verbal tics whenever he had an idea. His partner, Running Board, would translate it.