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The Voiceless
....
Silent Bob, The View Askewniverse

The character who, though able to speak, never does so on screen (except, perhaps, for that one really dramatic moment).

A variant of He Who Must Not Be Heard. The gag may be extended by having other characters refer to just how talkative this character is — but that's never seen on screen. ("Sorry I'm late, but (The Voiceless) caught me in the hall, and I couldn't get him to shut up.")

In movies, The Voiceless almost invariably says a line towards the end of the film — usually it's something complex and/or profound.

Sometimes The Voiceless is The Team Pet, who is no doubt smarter than his masters, but can only communicate through normal animal noises and perhaps the occasional sardonic eye roll.

Contrast The Speechless, who never says anything because he actually cannot. Not to be confused with The Quiet One. May utilize a Voice for the Voiceless or Mouth of Sauron. For the video game protagonist version, see Heroic Mime. When The Voiceless communicates entirely by body language, see The Silent Bob.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The King, the current mascot for Burger King, is a giant, creepy-looking, nutcracker-like being who never speaks.
  • A series of '80s commercials for Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers featured the fictional Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes. Frank did all the talking for the duo. (See example here.)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Joe Tetsuma from Eyeshield 21.
  • Keith Gandor of Baccano! doesn't speak throughout the entire anime series, despite being a main character and frequently appearing. This is taken to a much larger extreme in the light novel series, which mentions that he has a tendency to go years without talking.
    • The irony of this would be that, even with his muteness ramped up to eleven, Keith actually does get an in-scene line in the first book: "That guy's an idiot."
  • Eucliwood from Kore wa Zombie desu ka?. Her words are powerful enough to kill so she doesn't speak (except writing on paper and Ayumu's imagination).
  • Kamemon from Digimon Savers starts out as this, but the real winners are the two PawnChessmon. They actually have to have Miki and Megumi call their attacks and announce their evolution, but Kamemon is just shy. So shy that everyone stares at him in shock when he finally speaks a full sentence, and he retreats into his shell. Which is cute, but the real hilarity is in the finale: Megumi and Miki take the PawnChessmon to sing karaoke... off-screen.
    • In the Crisis Crossover finale of Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time, a very large number of the involved returning protagonists - specifically Yamato, Gabumon, Mimi, Palmon, V-mon, Wormmon, Guilmon and Renamon - have no speaking parts whatsoever. It's particularly egregious because this is a franchise that is heavy on Calling Your Attacks, and some of their original voice actors ARE involved with this series so it can't always be a matter of being unable to rehire the voice actors.
  • In InuYasha, Ginkotsu speaks very rarely, more often communicating in a grunt (typically written as "gersh"). After several episodes in a row of nothing but grunting, he surprises everyone by speaking in full sentences just before self-destructing to protect Renkotsu.
  • Nonette Enneagram in the second season of Code Geass, somewhat outstanding in that she is truly voiceless — in her two very brief appearances across 25 episodes, she never says a word.
  • Megumi on Special A writes on a notepad to communicate in order to protect her singing voice, which as a result is devastatingly powerful. She does speak a few times, though.
  • The Captain from Hellsing says not one word throughout the series. His speech bubbles consist entirely of "..."
    • He has exactly one line in The Dawn. Unless that speech bubble is meant to be attributed to Dok.
  • In the second filler arc in Bleach, Enryū doesn't speak until the end of the story line, at which point the giant imposing guy is revealed to have a voice that would make Alvin the Chipmunk blush.
  • Brandon Heat, the main character from Gungrave. He says maybe three things in the whole series. Because in the video game series that the anime is based upon, Brandon (and his later persona Beyond the Grave) doesn't talk at all.... except for one and only one line at the end of the second game.
  • Meru Otonashi ("no sound") from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is voiceless unless extremely provoked (in which case you'd better run for your lives). She makes up for it by being a very proficient text spammer.
  • Sumiyoshi in the Excel♥Saga anime talks, but soundlessly. His lines are visible on the screen just as his lines were written in the manga (i.e., right next to his head, without word bubbles).
  • In spite of having a voice actor, Rusty Mackenzie doesn't have a single line in the series. The Typical Gundam SEED Destiny takes this a step further when he's cloned. If any of his clones so much as tries to speak, they will die from some contrived fashion even if all they say is "...".
  • In Black Butler, Lau's favorite girl is this trope in the anime, but in the manga, Ranmao is simply a Cute Mute whose sole purpose in life seems to be wearing skimpy Chinese garb, be Lau's lap candy, and please the fanboys who can stand the shounen-ai long enough to read through the series, but aren't into lolis. ... she needs more screentime, her and Lau.
  • Tabitha from The Familiar of Zero.
  • Me-Mania of Perfect Blue. There are only two scenes in which he has any dialogue at all, and in one of them he's just mumbling to himself.
  • Switch from Sket Dance never speaks with his real voice. Instead, he uses a (very realistic) speech synthesizer, which he controls from the computer keyboard. Later his Back Story explains the tragic cause of this unwillingness to speak.
  • In a sense, Haibara-san of Mahoraba. Speaks with ventriloquy through his dog puppet, Johnny, but never says anything as himself (and claims that Johnny is an actual other being). Though he was not always this way, as revealed through flashbacks, and says a single sentence in the actual plot's timeline as himself for impact.
  • Kuchinashi from NEEDLESS only speaks once in the series when she's calling out her ultimate attack and everyone is more surprised she spoke than about the actual attack. She uses a notebook to communicate through the series, often times having sarcastic comments.
  • Muu from The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer is a bit of a subversion, in that he's a crow, so he shouldn't be able to speak, but he's also the animal familiar of one of the Beast Knights, and all the other familiars can talk, so why not him? Thus there's some doubt among the characters as to whether Muu conforms to this trope or if he's simply incapable of speech (though he certainly displays human intelligence in other ways.) This is eventually settled when Muu finally speaks in front of everyone right before he vanishes forever at the end of the war. We also learn from Muu's voice that she was a female all along.
  • The Baker in Kiki's Delivery Service has one line in the entire film. "Oi" which is little more than a grunt.
  • Many a Giant Spider from Spider Riders rarely ever spoke. The fact is actually lampshaded by the characters themselves on a few occasions.
    Spider Shadow: You don't talk much, do you Flame?
    Spider Flame: ...silence...
  • The Child from Berserk. While he does not speak in his human form when the body of light appears before Guts - which only appears when the Child is around - when he is on the verge of becoming a monster, it does speak.
  • Mayu from Morita-san wa Mukuchi rarely speaks because her mother said to think before speaking. As a result she spends too much time thinking and misses the opportunity to speak. Luckily her friend Miki can usually guess what she wants from her facial expressions.
  • Mitobe from Kuroko No Basuke. He never says a word (and if I recall correctly, he doesn't even have a single bubble with ellipses in the whole manga). Played with in a scene where he shows eating with his family, who all seem to be chatterboxes.
    • Lampshaded in the first episode of the anime (not in the manga though), when they're getting people to join the basketball club:
    Koganei: Mitobe, make sure they hear you!
    Mitobe grins at him, then turns back.
    Koganei: You're not gonna do it, are you?
  • Egypt from Axis Powers Hetalia may fit this trope. He's never spoken a word in the anime or the manga, and the only thing he's done on screen yet was deliver a mild beat down to Italy with a stick and his fist. All without saying a word.
  • Admiral Ernst von Eisenach from Legend of Galactic Heroes never speaks even though he commands a fleet. Instead, he communicates his orders via hand gestures. He speaks twice over the course of the entire series. The first time his voice is not heard by viewers; the second time it is merely: "checkmate". The latter incident is recorded by the narrator as an important historical event would be, and his fellow admirals are shown to be shocked by the fact that he is actually capable of speech.
  • So far, Pica in One Piece has not spoken a word or even made a grunt. This makes him come off as far more serious and pragmatic than his partners Trébol and Diamante, who are both chatterboxes. Subverted, eventually—he can talk, but he prefers not to because he has a high-pitched voice he's ashamed of. He'll forget to stay silent if sufficiently enraged though.

    Comics 
  • Black Bolt. His merest whisper can destroy vast spaceships, so he uses telepathy and sign language instead, usually to his wife, Medusa, so she can speak for him. When someone translates for him, however, he proves to have a very dry wit.
  • Kevin, the especially disturbing silent killer of Sin City.
    • His father Cardinal Roark informs Marv that he only talks to him and that he has a wonderful singing voice.
    • Deadly little Miho also qualifies, though she's on the side of the Anti Heroes.
  • Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe. In Marvel continuity he was implied to have always been rather taciturn by nature, but on a mission he stayed in a crashing helicopter to save Scarlett and had a fuel line blow a window up right in his face. This led to a great deal of facial scarring and he also accidentally inhaled some burning gasoline, permanently scorching his vocal cords.
    • A crossover comic with Transformers (one of many, actually), also plays with the second part of the trope, when, before the formation of the group, then-Colonel Hawk calls Snake-Eyes "Chatterbox", and reveals that he made a bet with the other soldiers that Snake-Eyes couldn't stay silent for the entire mission. Then Cobra attacks with brainwashed Autobots and Decepticons, rendering him silent for the rest of his life. The cause this time was Starscream (rebuilt with the alt-mode of a Cobra Nightraven) blasting the missle tank Snake-Eyes was near and the explosion doing it to him. Part out of guilt over this (and that Snake-Eyes' family was killed in damage from the related attack), Hawk then insists Snake-Eyes be included in G.I. Joe. Snake-Eyes meets the now-free thinking Starscream on Cobra Island, getting his revenge when he slashes open Starscream's left optic and shoving a grenade into it.
    • In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, it's explained that Snake-Eyes apparently took a vow of silence after witnessing the death of his master as a kid, instead of any sort of vocal chord destruction.
  • The angel Duma from The Sandman and its spinoff Lucifer. Initially justified by his function as the Guardian of Silence; however, he continues to be silent after the Creator gives him a new function as co-ruler of Hell. (This is based on Jewish folklore which casts Duma as ruler of Gehenna, as his name is one of the biblical synonyms for the underworld, and in fact means "silence" in Hebrew.) He is nonetheless able to communicate through facial expressions and gestures and, in Lucifer, even in discrete words through telepathy. In the latter comic, he finally breaks his silence in order to stop co-ruler Remiel from tearing apart Rudd's soul and to appoint Rudd as the new ruler of Hell.
    • In the Phil Foglio version of Stanley and His Monster, Duma "speaks" by showing little notes to his colleagues.
    • Also in The Sandman, in The Doll's House Chantal always speaks for her partner Zelda who has a really bad stutter. In The Kindly Ones, Zelda is forced to speak for herself, Chantal having died in the intervening years.
  • Also, in Endless Nights, Delirium's story "Going Inside" features a girl who does not speak after being raped. Towards the end of the comic she is shown as recovering and speaking after helping to find Delirium.
  • In Joker, Harley Quinn of all people is this. She does do some awesome stuff (and look damn good doing it), though. This might just be because Harley's usual characterisation wouldn't gel with the comic's atmosphere so well.

    Fan-Fiction 

    Films — Animation 
  • Taarna, the heroine of the final story of the 1981 movie Heavy Metal, never speaks. Whether she can't or merely won't, however, is never explained.
    • Strangely, this actually makes her the most interesting character in the movie.
  • In the original version of The Thief and the Cobbler, Tack never said anything until the end when he gets engaged to Princess Yum Yum — he says "I love you too" in a surprisingly deep voice. Later versions however had him speak throughout the movie.
    • Also, the thief was silent throughout the original version. The only time he makes any vocalization is when he fakes getting his hands chopped off. Later versions had him speak, though.
  • Spike from The Land Before Time is voiceless, only speaking in squawks and grunts. The only instants he speaks are when his sister falls down a ledge ("DUCKY!") and when he breaks through thin ice ("MOM!") Justified because he's a baby, and adult Stegosaurs in the films are shown to be perfectly capable of speech.
  • Dopey from Snow White doesn't speak at all, though he is quite expressive. One of the others says that Dopey doesn't know whether he can talk, because he never tried.
  • Dumbo as well. Also justified because of his young age.
  • In Up although she was plenty talkative as a child, Ellie is never heard speaking once as an adult in the montage (though neither is anyone else).
  • In Peter Pan, Tiger Lily was mostly taciturn. A rare speaking moment from her was when she cried to Peter for help. This is partly justified, since Captain Hook has been threatening her to give up information, and the Indian princess bravely refuses to disclose anything.
    • The youngest lost boy in the skunk costume never spoke throughout the whole film.
  • In The Care Bears Movie, Secret Bear let his secret of never uttering a word slip a couple of times. When he says "the key", while handing it to Nicholas to help him close a book which contains The Spirit's face and when he lets out a "yeah!!" during a song, as the Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins fall down from the sound of this behind them and they turn around, and look at him surprisingly.
  • In Tangled, the King and Queen do not speak. Despite this, they have three of the most emotionally charged and tearjerking scenes in the movie, which says a lot about the quality of the animation.
    • In the special Tangled Ever After, the Queen gets a single line in an Imagine Spot.
  • The Triplets in Brave. They only make occasional sounds like laughter and gasping.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Battle Royale: Kiriyama, one of the most psychopathic students in the game, never says a word. The only noise he makes is blowing into a loudspeaker.
  • The Blind Side: Michael, due to his Dark and Troubled Past, when he first arrives at his new private religious school. He eventually opens up and starts talking after the Tuohys begin helping him.
  • Boba Fett spoke a total of 28 words in the original Star Wars trilogy. (Twenty-nine if you count the scream he made when he fell into the Scarlacc Pit.) He spoke a great deal more in Attack of the Clones.
    • Darth Maul spoke only slighty more. He spoke a total of 34 words in The Phantom Menace, all but three of them in one scene.
  • Vinnie Jones (The Sphinx) in Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), who gets a lengthy philosophical soliloquy at the end.
    The Sphinx: (in Vinnie Jones's typical accent) If his unpleasant wounding has in some way enlightened the rest of you as to the grim finish beneath the glossy veneer of criminal life and inspired you to change your ways, then his injuries carry with it an inherent nobility, and a supreme glory. We should all be so fortunate. You say poor Toby? I say poor us.
    (everyone stares at him)
    Tumbler: He spoke.
    Atley Jackson: Yeah...
  • The Thin Man, played by Crispin Glover, in the Charlie's Angels films.
  • Unlike his television counterpart, Lurch from The Addams Family doesn't speak in the movies, other to occassionally grunt a little.
  • The View Askewniverse/New Jersey Trilogy movies by Kevin Smith
    • Silent Bob, who earns his nickname. If you pull the string on Silent Bob's action figure, nothing happens. Each film has about one instance of him talking, ranging from a profound monologue (Clerks) to an Indiana Jones impression after throwing someone off a train (Dogma) to him just finally losing it with Jay's stupidity (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). In Clerks II, when in jail at the end and having to figure out what to do, Jay says to Bob, "That's your cue, man!" - to which Bob tries to think of something, then just shrugs it off with "I've got nothing".
      • In Chasing Amy he starts gearing up for his speech when Jay gripes that, oh look, Bob's opening his mouth, motherfucker thinks that just because he never says anything that one time he motherf***ing says something he thinks it's so motherfucking profound. Bob points out that he at least has a leg up on Jay, who talks all the time and yet has never said anything remotely meaningful.
    • God, in Dogma, since living humans would die instantly if they ever heard her speak out loud; the Metatron has to speak for her. (Bob also says "Thanks" to her near the end.)
  • One of the holders of the Pieces of Eight in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End never spoke, but as it turned out, it was because he actually had a very high-pitched, squeaky voice..
    • Cotton, one of Jack's crew members, also never speaks, since his tongue was cut out. He speaks through his parrot instead (which isn't a very good speaker).
  • Dwayne of Little Miss Sunshine, begins the film as this because he's taken a vow of silence until he can join the Air Force Academy. However, he begins speaking regularly after finding out he's color-blind and thus can't become a pilot. His first word is a very loud "FUCK!"
  • Several James Bond villains:
    • In Goldfinger, the villain's hulking, Korean bodyguard Oddjob can't speak English, so he doesn't talk, but simply not talking only makes him more intimidating.
    • Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. At the end of his second film appearance, he has one line of dialogue when preparing a toast to his bespectacled girlfriend as the rocket ship is heading back to Earth. He says, "Here's to us." (Possibly, the reason he doesn't speak is because his metal, cybernetic teeth make talking difficult, but that is just a theory.)
    • Another Bond example: Emil Locque, the Psycho for Hire Professional Killer in For Your Eyes Only. We see him speaking on the phone at one point, but we cannot hear him. He later screams in terror when Bond kills him. Otherwise, he is silent.
  • Colby (Lee Van Cleef) from High Noon, seems to speak at the beginning, but has no lines beyond a few harmonica tunes.
    • Not to be confused with Charles Bronson's similarly harmonica-bound character in Once Upon A Time In The West, who was more The Quiet One.
  • Harpo of the Marx Brothers built his professional persona around pantomime. As a youth, his Uncle Al wrote him a vaudeville part that was silent, but Harpo insisted on ad-libbing some lines. Afterwards, he read a review that said his excellent pantomime was spoiled once he started talking. Thereafter, he never spoke in a performance again, and very rarely allowed his voice to be recorded. However, he does audibly sneeze in At the Circus and might be harmonizing "Sweet Adeline" with his brothers in Monkey Business.
    • According to Joe Adamson in Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers, the producers of their next-to-last feature, A Night in Casablanca, wanted to give Harpo a single spoken line — a scream of "Murder!" — so they could promote the film with "Harpo Speaks!" Harpo listened to the proposal, thought it through, and shook his head. (However, he did like the proposed tagline enough to use it as the title of his autobiography.)
    • If you're curious what Harpo sounded like, some recordings of his voice can be found here.
  • Stanley, the title character in Jerry Lewis' The Bell Boy, doesn't say a word until the very end of the film (although Lewis, in a dual role, also appears as himself and speaks while doing so).
  • Lane's super-genius kid brother Badger in Better Off Dead never says a word on-screen, which doesn't seem to keep him from picking up trashy women. There's also a young Asian immigrant who never speaks because he doesn't know any English - although his brother does, and talks like Howard Cosell, thanks to repeated viewings of Wide World of Sports.
  • Kroenen in Hellboy, on account of removing his lips, among other things. His character is completely different in the Comic Book and can speak quite well.
  • Vega in the Street Fighter movie; he only speaks with his mask on or off screen. In the games, he can indeed talk whenever he wants. This sparked a rumour that the actor who played him couldn't speak English or was mute.
  • Chief Bromden in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, ostensibly deaf-mute, eventually reveals to McMurphy that he's faking it.
  • Tiny never speaks in either House of 1000 Corpses or The Devils Rejects. This may be because he's completely covered in burn scars and can't hear very well.
  • Nishi (played by Kitano Takeshi) in Hana Bi.
  • Han-gi in Bad Guy by Kim Ki-duk. When he does eventually speak, his voice turns out to be a hoarse whisper.
  • The two protagonists of 3Iron, also by Kim Ki-duk, share a romance through the entire film without ever speaking a word.
  • The Avengers (1998):
  • One of the comedy writers in My Favorite Year says nothing up until the film scene, when he finally blurts out, "Oh God, this makes me happy!"
  • In the Scottish comedy Gregory's Girl, the character of Charlie doesn't speak until the final scene, when he point out that the capital of Venezuela is misspelled.
  • The bounty hunters chasing Hulk Hogan in Suburban Commando are large, muscular and silent — until one(played ironically by Mark "The Undertaker" Calloway)speaks in a squeaky, girly voice, prompting Hogan to remark, "No wonder you guys never talk!"
  • The Golden Child, as a Buddhist Messiah figure, never speaks until the very end, after he's been rescued.
  • Mitch in Waiting, for the most part. Every time he is asked a question or tries to speak, he is somehow interrupted within the first two words of his response. Averted in the end when he goes on a tirade at the end during the party.
  • The Korean Hi, Dharma! comedy movies, about Buddhist monks in a modern society, has one monk under a vow of silence, Played for Laughs.
  • Sub-Zero, and Reptile from the first Mortal Kombat film.
  • Everyone assumes the title character in What the Deaf Man Heard is a deaf-mute, until he appears as a witness in a court case.
  • The Guns of Navarone: Anna has never spoken after her torture by the Germans. But that's all a lie, since she's actually The Mole.
  • Even after the introduction of sound, Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character didn't speak. The first time we hear the Tramp's voice is when he sings in Modern Times. Chaplin chose to have the Tramp sing gibberish so he could continue to cross all language barriers. The only time The Tramp speaks clearly is in The Great Dictator, which is also the last appearance of the character.
  • In Scrooged, the son of the TV executive's African-American assistant hasn't spoken since his father (her husband) was murdered a couple years back. Until the end with the TV executive, where he speaks: "God bless us every one."
  • Inverted in Mel Brooks's Silent Movie: the only one who says anything is Marcel Marceau, the French mime, who gives an enthusiastic "Non!" when invited to appear in the film.
  • X-Men:
    • In X-Men, the Brotherhood members never speak. Mystique is silent but for one line early on, except when she's disguised. It's quite effective and adds to her, well, mystique. Sabretooth has two lines, Toad has three.
    • Deadpool during the final confrontation in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
    • Riptide has no dialogue in X-Men: First Class and Azazel has only a few words although it doesn't stop either from being Badass.
  • Laddie, the youngest of the vampires from The Lost Boys, doesn't speak until the very end, when he bursts out with Star's name in his excitement over having become human again. He does snarl at the Frog brothers prior to this, but it's inarticulate growling, not words.
  • Allison in The Breakfast Club remains quiet for at least the whole first half of the movie, during which time she has a grand total of one line of dialogue (aside from shouting "ha" once). It isn't until the last quarter of the film that she finally opens up and we start to learn about her troubled social life.
  • Special mention must go to the Furies in 1979's The Warriors. They are baseball bat-wielding, Day-Glo face-painted vigilantes who prowl New York's Central Park after dark and never, ever utter a single word.
  • Mindy, Dupree's girlfriend in You Me And Dupree, apparently can speak, but we never hear her do so; we do hear her scream in pain when Dupree accidentally sets her on fire. Even more bizarre, Mindy is also The Faceless.
  • In 44 Inch Chest, the kidnapped French "Loverboy" never says a word, even though his captors don't bother to gag him. Oddly, the filmmakers went to the trouble of casting a French actor even though we never hear his accent.
  • In the original Halloween series Michael never spoke and only ever uttered generic noises like grunts, which themselves are barely audible in most cases. In the remake series Michael's shown to talk, but only as a child.
    • ... until the director's cut for Halloween II (2009), where screams "DIE!" at Loomis before stabbing him multiple times.
    • An early version of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later also had Michael speak. Right before Laurie kills him with a javelin, he would've said her name.
  • Similarly, Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th never spoke except as a child in the flashbacks and in the earlier films before he became a zombie he would occasionally grunt and scream. He wouldn't even talk in the Freddy vs. Jason pre-movie conference when asked a question. This was even lampshaded by Freddy himself, which served to piss Jason off. No one died that day, thankfully.
  • The Holy Man in Black Narcissus. Kanji screams, but has no dialogue.
  • Mini-Me Dr. Evil's clone from the Austin Powers series, the only things he ever says are "Me" or "Eee" and during Dr. Evil's music video he says "You and I" in a deep voice.
  • Vulnavia, The Dragon to the Villain Protagonist in The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Offscreen, she apparently can speak, although she is The Quiet One. Onscreen, her only utterance is a scream of agony as she is doused with Hollywood Acid.
  • The Human Centipede films have a couple such characters. In First Sequence, the cop named Voller never utters a word, merely staring piercingly (something between a Death Glare and a Kubrick Stare) but it's assumed he can talk. In Full Sequence, Villain Protagonist Martin is suggested to have spoken offscreen numerous times, even making phone calls, but otherwise never actually says a single thing outside of a few weird squeaks and grunts.
  • Repothe Genetic Opera has two identical characters who speak one line in the entire film. Justified as they're the silent, badass bodyguards of Rotti Largo.
  • The Artist, the almost-but-not-quite "silent film", features an interesting twist on this trope. It is mostly a silent film where we can't hear characters speak except in inter-titles. However, in a dream sequence, we find that suddenly the world has sound (which we can hear), except that our hero finds he cannot speak, despite trying to. At the very end of the film he speaks, audibly, for the first time - indicating that he has now accepted the inevitability of people talking in movies. We are also surprised by the fact he has a strong French accent, which may explain earlier reluctance to appear in talkies.
  • Kristen Stewart's character in Speak decides to stop talking after a traumatic event.
  • Rinzler a.k.a. Tron in TRON: Legacy, who only ever makes a sort of muted-flickery-growling sound.
  • Bang Bang, the Japanese explosive expert in the movie Brothers Bloom, only speaks two words in the entire movie: It's at the moment when they orginally intended to let just a tiny amount of C4 explode to activate the sprinklers, but instead they also left the whole rest up there, blowing up the castle. The words?
Bang Bang: Fuck me.
  • Elisabet, one of the main characters in Persona speaks only fourteen words in the film.
  • Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, although his reason for being so is different than other continuities. While he's usually rendered mute by an injury, in the film it's mentioned he took a vow of silence after Storm Shadow apparently killed their master. Originally, the end of the movie was going to have him speak to tell a joke, but it was cut, probably for the best.
  • Played for Laughs in Trading Places, where the "big Barry White-lookin' motherfucker" Billy Ray meets in jail has a huge sidekick who only ever says, "Yeah!"

    Humor 
  • An old joke goes: there was a boy who never spoke. As he grew up, his parents took him to doctors, specialists, healers; there appeared to be no physical reason for his silence, but no one was ever able to make a dent in it. Finally they gave up and accepted him for what he was. One day when he was 13, the family was eating dinner, and the boy suddenly spit it out and loudly proclaimed, "This soup is terrible!" His parents were shocked. "You can speak?" "Of course I can. Why wouldn't I be able to speak? Perfectly normal thing to do." "Then why have you been silent all these years?" "Well, up to now, the soup's been pretty good."

    Literature 
  • Inkie from The Seventh Tower.
  • Remember the Interrogation Droid that Darth Vader used on Leia in A New Hope? This was actually an inversion. Expanded Universe novels have shown that these droids are perfectly capable of speech, but are usually simply told not to by whoever is conducting the interrogation, because a torturer who remains silent can be far more effective than one who speaks to the victim.
  • In John Scalzi's Old Man's War Maggie is an example, though at one point after she speaks and is looked at oddly, she comments "What? I'm just quiet, not mute."
  • In Daughter of the Forest, based on the traditional fairy tale, a girl must rescue her brothers after they have been turned into swans by her evil stepmother. To do so she must not speak (or, it seems, make any vocal sound, not even sobs or cries of pain) until she has made seven shirts for them out of what are essentially sharp thistled plants. She manages it, but it causes her quite a few troubles, including one man's death because she could not speak up at the appropriate time.
  • In The Chronicles of the Black Company, one of the company wizards (called Silent) is quite the embodiment of this trope.
  • In most versions of Dicken's A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come does not speak, answering Scrooge's questions with simple nods, or just staring in stony silence.
  • In The Dragonslayer's Apprentice, the dragonslayer's assistant Ron is like this; he says little, if anything, and has mastered the art of nonverbal communication. He says so little that when the titular apprentice fills her boss in on the details of a celebration he got a little too drunk at, a big deal is made of Ron commenting that he likes the sausages.
  • A running joke in John Morgan Wilson's Benjamin Justice series. Fred, one of Justice's elderly landlords, has virtually no dialogue, beyond the occasional grunt.
  • Adah Price in The Poisonwood Bible communicates almost entirely by writing notes. After she goes to college alone, she's forced to talk and starts acting more normally, much to Rachel's surprise.
  • In Superfudge, baby sister Tootsie is too young to speak until the end, when she starts imitating the "Yuck!" that Peter utters while changing her diaper. Her timely repetition of "Yuck!" is later misinterpreted as "York!" by the rest of the family, which helps them reach the decision to move back to New York City ("Nu yuck!").
  • The only sounds Rip the Coyote from the Hank the Cowdog series makes are grunts of affirmation ("Uh") or negation ("Uh-uh").
  • John Marsden's So Much To Tell You is written as a diary by a girl called Marina. Before the book starts, she was horribly disfigured when her father threw acid in her face (while aiming for his wife). She hasn't spoken since, and does not break her silence until the final chapter when she visits her father in prison and announces that she has "So much to tell [him]."
  • Harry Potter:
    • Crabbe and Goyle, until the last book. In the second book Harry and Ron talk while magically transformed into them, though.
    • Marietta Edgecombe, despite being infamous of her one act of being a tattletale, never says anything on"screen".
    • Also The Bloody Baron. One can assume Harry has heard him speak, since he impersonates him to fool Peeves and it works, but he never says a word the readers can hear.
  • In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Oskar's grandfather slowly loses his ability to speak after Anna's death. He resorts to writing everything in journals and tattoos "Yes" on one hand and "No" on the other.
  • In Tiassa, Khaavren's servant Borteliff is widely assumed to be mute. He can talk, he's just found that silence in a servant is so prized by his employers that he'll go for a year or more without saying a word.
  • In The Book of the Dun Cow, Ebenezer Rat never speaks, and is the only animal character who doesn't. It is implied that his stealthy, criminal nature contributes to this.
  • In Halo: Ghosts Of Onyx, SPARTAN-III Lucy-B091 is one of only two survivors of Operation: TORPEDO. The experiences of that mission are so traumatic that she becomes utterly incapable of speaking until Halo: Glasslands. Despite this, she becomes a capable NCO under Lieutenant Kurt Ambrose when training Gamma Company. She also coordinates well with the other SPARTANs, who mostly communicate by hand gestures and comm beeps anyways. She can't do the SPARTAN version of the "all clear" signal (an "Olly olly oxen free" whistle), though.
  • In Dave Barry Slept Here, Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge is noted only for the humorous anecdotes about him hardly ever talking.
  • In Josh Greenfeld and Paul Mazursky's Harry and Tonto Harry's grandson, a practicing Buddhist had taken a vow of silence and communicated only by gestures or scribbling on a notepad.
  • Dexna from First Light had only spoken to about five people (and never in public) for about thirteen years. Thea was shocked when she spoke upon seeing Peter. Everyone was likewise shocked when she interrupted an annual children's play about the founding of the city.

    Live Action TV 
  • Kimi Milard is this on Alphas, which is ironic because her alpha ability involves her voice.
  • Rajesh from The Big Bang Theory never speaks around girls, except when he's drunk (slipped up in one episode, though, prompting him to cover up his mouth). He eventually overcomes this.
    • Played for laughs in one episode at season 2 where Sheldon ended up with laryngitis. As a result, he has to communicate with a laptop and does gestures while it talks to what he is typing at.
  • In season 5 of Canada's Worst Handyman, Matt's nominator Silent Keith fully lives up to his nickname, never saying a word or making a sound. The one time he speaks is in the 2nd-to-last episode, when spoken to about not speaking.
  • Stan from Will and Grace plays this trope straight without any exceptions.
  • Pike's girlfriend Ivy in Dad's Army.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Morn, an example of a "voiceless chatterbox". The funny part is that he wasn't originally meant to be a Voiceless character, and the make-up crew went through the trouble of making his mask in two parts (i.e., for a movable jaw) in anticipation of lines that never came. At first his lines ended up getting cut for time, and then the writers decided to turn it into a running joke. Played even further by having other characters constantly mention how much he keeps talking all the time and tells the funniest jokes... just never while the camera is around.
      • Just as Morn never speaks on screen, so the novels never give him dialogue (again, despite mentioning how he's actually a chatterbox). In the first book of Star Trek: Millennium, it briefly looks like Morn has been giving dialogue as part of a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Turns out it's actually Odo taking Morn's form.
      • Done again in Star Trek Online. Morn almost never says anything, but the player character thinks he does and gives responses. There is one option where he speaks, though... in a Gilligan Cut so we don't actually see it. Morn never changes expression either, making him the Comically Serious... and puts a whole new light on the "Morn never shuts up" thing.
    • Maihar'du, the Grand Nagus's servant, is said never to speak except to his master. The only time his voice is heard in the series, it's not actually him but a wormhole alien using his likeness.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mr. Homn, Lwaxana's valet, never speaks until the end of his first appearance, surprising everyone when he gives his one line. He would never speak again.
      • Except in the novel Imzadi, where he speaks one more line. Riker reflects on how he'd only heard Homn speak once before.
    • It's not clear whether the Breen are The Speechless or The Voiceless. However, given Star Trek's amazing translation technology, it seems likely that the reason they don't communicate with other characters is that they don't want to.
  • For his entire run on Hey Hey Its Saturday, Drummer "Animal" never spoke a word onscreen. Once, when he received an award, instead of speaking his thanks, he handed a letter to another cast member, who then read it aloud.
  • Mr. Foley on Remember WENN (another "voiceless chatterbox").
  • Clarabell the Clown on The Howdy Doody Show (who did speak in the final episode).
  • Larry's brother Darryl and Larry's other brother Darryl in Newhart (again, spoke in the final episode — ironically, only to bellow "QUIET!" at their chattering wives).
  • Star Trek TOS The Devil in the Dark featured the Horta, an intelligent blob of silicon who only communicated via written word after learning English from Spock's mind meld. The episode The Empath guest starred Kathryn Hays as Gem, a silent entity who was forced to resist torture as a test of her race's worth.
  • Bill from The Red Green Show is usually considered one of The Voiceless, though this may be unfair: he most often appears in the Adventures With Bill segments, in which the dialogue is replaced with a narration by Red, though he has shown up in the regular scenes from time to time, as well as in the Red Green movie Duct Tape Forever. In the "Behind The Scenes" special, the character of Bill appears, and points out that many people assume him to be mute, but he is actually quite talkative.
    • Justified in one of the books when Red states that the old black and white movie cameras they use to record the Adventure segments just have crappy microphones that don't pick up what Bill is saying.
      • In some of the adventures in seasons 7-8, and towards the end of the show when Rick Green returned, you can actually hear voiceovers of whatever Bill is saying at the time. He sounds like a frantic, hyperactive version of Rick Green, the man who plays him.
    • Also lampshaded in one of the books, in which Bill is specifically handed a chance to ramble on... at length... about whatever he finds interesting... and we discover that it's probably just as well that we never actually hear him speak.
    • Further, Bill is an Expy of Bill from Bala, a character from several Frantics skits. The main gag behind the character was that he never shut up. The joke here was he never got to talk.
  • The enigmatic racing driver known as The Stig on the British car show Top Gear has only been seen to speak once in an interview, although he didn't say much else other than confirming that his name is The Stig. He is always wearing the same coveralls and helmet, which when added to his muteness suggest that more than one man (or tall flat-chested woman, or alien) may be playing the role.
    • There have been two Stigs on Top Gear: "The Black Stig" and "The White Stig" (named for the colors of the racing overalls and helmets that they wore). The Black Stig has been revealed to be British F1 driver Perry McCarthy, although McCarthy has stated that more than one driver has played the role of The Stig. To date, the identity of The White Stig hasn't been revealed. The Other Wiki has an article on The Stig.
    • Incidentally, Top Gear has been far from hesitant to play around with The Stig's role as The Voiceless, as demonstrated in the DIY Caterham vs. The Stig segment.
    • The White Stig was briefly revealed to be F1 legend Michael Schumacher but the BBC swears this was just a joke, presumably because the car being tested was the Ferrari FXX.
  • The Haitian during most of the 1st season ("volume 1") of Heroes. Many characters still believe he's incapable of speech.
  • In the iCarly episode iSpace Out the little girl who infiltrates the Shays' apartment never says a word.
  • Jessie's brother John in Jessie upheld a vow of silence and was completely mute until That One Critical Moment when he decided to speak and save Jessie's relationship. For the rest of the season he became the good-natured wisecracker of the cast.
  • Jerri's father in Strangers with Candy is only ever seen silently frozen in place, usually with an expression of extreme shock. He's implied to be very active whenever the camera isn't on him.
  • Matt's best friend Lanny on Lizzie McGuire. Matt and Melina were the only ones who ever seemed to be able to communicate with him. Matt even had a conversation with him over the phone, which really confused his parents.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The Unnamed Hispanic girl employed as a lookout by Carlos never speaks a word on screen. Emotionless Girl Cameron appears to identify with this, because she lets her live in "What He Beheld".
  • Effy Stonem in the first series of Skins - and her Expy, Eura, in the American remake.
  • The General in Prison Break used to be this, apparently for fear of being recorded saying something incriminating. He is first heard speaking in a small boat in the middle of the ocean where the environmental conditions somehow prevent bugs from transmitting. He later abandoned this habit for no apparent reason.
  • The episode "Battlefield" of the mini-series Nightmares and Dreamscapes has no dialog whatsoever, including extras and an anchorwoman on television (the audience in aware of what's being reported by text instead). The main character does make some noise, such as yelling in pain, anger or surprise.
  • The stagehands in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger.
    • And, years earlier, Grifforzer of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, until he was reunited with his wife Lamie, at which point Bandora gave him a voice.
  • In Breaking Bad, the Salamenca cousins, even though they're fully able to talk, only speak in two of the six episodes they appeared in; their reputation and actions spoke for them, in most instances.
  • The IT Crowd, in the episode "Something Happened", had Norman, Jen's new boyfriend who plays the keyboard in a band.
  • Cute little Vorena, the Younger from Rome emits only three brief sounds throughout the entirety of the series despite featuring regularly as a background character.
  • Brad, the ubiquitous piano player, on Glee.
  • The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. had gunfighter Utah Johnny Montana (he's from Idaho) who can't speak due to having been shot in the throat, and has a sidekick who does all his talking for him.
  • Wacky the Wolf, from A.N.T. Farm.
    • Noted in one episode; When Lexi disguises herself in a cheap replica of Wacky's costume, and starts asking why the rest of the cheerleaders seem to hate her, one of them notes that Wacky never speaks.
  • Jake Bohm from Touch, whose voice is only heard during the opening narration of each episode (except when he screams).
  • On an episode of The X-Files set in a town full of sideshow performers, the heavily-tattooed Conundrum doesn't say anything until the very end, when he breaks his silence to deliver a lame punch-line.

    Meta 

    Multiple Media 
  • BIONICLE:
    • Vamprah never says a word in any of his appearances (misplaced word bubbles in the comics notwithstanding). According to Word of God, he even remained silent while getting electrocuted to dust with the rest of his team.
    • All the Ko-Matoran in the online games, their dialogue consisting of the page quote. They speak just fine in other media, though, with the exception of Kopeke who rarely talks anywhere.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • "The Shooter" Dean Malenko in the original ECW NEVER spoke, usually having a mouthpiece (Jason, Shane Douglas). At times this was played up in promos, such as when Douglas noted that Malenko was very happy after winning a title, and for his victory speech... he said nothing (even as Douglas held the microphone to his mouth). This made it an even bigger event after Dean's and Eddie Guerrero's last match in ECW when he asked for the mike and gave a farewell speech.
  • Kane was this trope for a while after debuting at Bad Blood in 1997. He helped to cement his role as a silent badass monster. Over the years, he slowly found himself capable of speaking more and more usually during face runs in order to humanize him which eventually culminated years later when he unmasked. First, he started talking with a voice box when he challenged "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to a First Blood match in 1998. Later, he revealed he could make noise when he let out an animalistic yell over a downed ally. Then, finally, they had Kane speak on his own - and, yes, his words were "suck it."
  • Countless "evil foreigners", mostly of the Samoan or jungle variety (Wild Samoans, Kamala, Abdullah the Butcher, et al). Save for the occasional primal moaning.
    • Vladimir Kozlov passed through a fascinating progression of this. He started out never speaking at all (which was also emphasized by his ring entrance, which featured no music or sound). Eventually he got a musical theme and began speaking, but he could only say things in Russian with the occasional English phrase. Now he speaks in English (with a Russian accent) exclusively, but still doesn't talk all that much.
  • Sting took a vow of silence in WCW during the third quarter of 1996 (right after the New World Order hired an impostor Sting to frame the real Sting for a heinous act) and would not speak again until very late in 1997 - and that was only out of anger at being stripped of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Hornswoggle, the mischievous leprechaun, has been around since 2006 and has only spoken a handful of times since then. The first time was in 2007, when he expressed his fear of the Little Boogeyman by saying (among other things), "Little people are scary!" Subsequent appearances primarily showed him being unable to talk unless he tentatively mimicked the words of others, such as when Christian got him to shout, "MOOSE!" at Vickie Guerrero.
    • Except now he's able to talk, thanks to a wish from Santa (yes, really).
  • Sin Cara, a high-flying masked WWE wrestler, hasn't spoken a wordnote , opting instead to gesture at his opponents, and dazzling the fans with an impressive aerial arsenal.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Slann Mage-Priests from Warhammer Fantasy qualify. Usually, they're too busy contemplating to speak, and only one has ever said anything. His words? "Attend to the gates!"
    • Word of God is that they do talk on occasion, but it's always in short blurbs. Then the Skink Priests take forever to figure out what they meant. (They've fought the High Elves for centuries because when a Slann first met some, he said, "They should not be here", and the Lizardmen took it as a genocide order... while he could have just as easily meant "Send them back to Ulthuan".)
    • The Phoenix Guard of the High Elves take a binding vow of silence. However, the Captain will speak once, calling the Elven god's wrath upon whoever kills him.

    Theatre 
  • Paris in The Golden Apple.
  • Figaro in P.D.Q Bach's The Abduction of Figaro has only one line ("CUBA?!"). Schlepporello is supposed to be another example, but his actor has other ideas...
  • Lucky in Waiting for Godot
  • Dracula himself in Dracula: A Love Stronger Than Death. Mina is functionally voiceless too—she has a few spoken lines, but she doesn't sing in any of the songs, making her totally absent from the soundtrack album.
  • Pylades in The Libation Bearers is silent throughout the play except for one line toward the end, urging his friend Orestes to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. Particularly important because there were only three actors in Greek tragedies at the time; "using up" one of them in many scenes for the silent Pylades is an interesting artistic decision.
  • In Larry Gelbart's Mastergate: A Play on Words, we have TNN field reporter Clay Fielder, who never gets to speak. Anchorman Chip Chatworth never stops with his long-winded introductions and questions, and by the time it's Clay's turn, TNN inevitably has to cut back to the hearing room. He's also interrupted by transmission problems, and even an earthquake at one point.

    Video Games 
  • The Zoq-Fot-Pik from Star Control II are a trio of aliens (one green and vaguely plantlike, one blue and cylindrical, and one red and spherical) who evolved together, and always come in groups of one each. The red one never seems to say anything, though.
    • In fact, one of the dialogue options when meeting them is "Doesn't that guy behind you say anything?", to which the other two reply "Nope," and "Not a word."
  • Sergei Dragunov of Tekken doesn't speak at all - the only noises he makes are grunts when he's attacking or being hit (and, in the case of one of his Tekken 6 win poses, humming). Not much of a problem, in that (since it's a Fighting Game) he communicates mainly by kicking ass.
    • Tekken 6's Scenrio Mode reveals that he is, in fact, capable of speech, he just chooses to not speak 99% of the time (a fact that is frequently lampshaded by several characters, especially Alisa). In one level, Alisa reacts with amazement when he utters a single word ("I am shocked. You can speak!"), and, in another level, he goes one further by speaking a sentence to Raven. The audience never actually hears him speak, as all of Scenario Mode's dialogue (minus the cutscenes) is purely text-based.
      • Sergei's official profile lists his hobby as "singing", and word is he has quite the singer's voice.
    • Neither do any of the Mokujins.
    • None of the Jack robots are heard to speak, either, although Tekken 6's Scenario Mode does reveal that Jack-6 is capable of speech - albeit Hulk Speak, and it's written entirely in caps ("BIOLOGICAL IGNORE JACK. JACK SAD.").
  • Any player character from the Pokémon games. The most notable is Red, whom you can encounter and battle in Pokémon Gold and Silver and their remakes. The only dialogue he gets in the text box is "..."
  • This is lampshaded in the first generation games and their remakes: the waiter on board the SS Anne refers to the player as "Le Strong Silent Type".
  • Link is one example. Other than the random grunts and yells, he never utters any words. The tradition is broken in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, when Link occasionally yells "C'mon!", but that's it.
  • Kevin Smith in Suda 51's killer7. He never makes a sound other than the noise of him throwing a knife. He doesn't even grunt when the enemies explode on him. Hand in Killer7 says that his voice can summon gods.
  • Mario is Missing!: Weegee, according to Fanon.
    • An quick elaboration here is that while he does speak in the actual game, fanon explains his silent nature as when he actually does speak, something especially horrible will happen.
  • Len of Tsukihime never says anything but "............." in official material. She's still somehow able to communicate, presumably just by showing her emotions really, really well. (Shiki, for one, seems able to pull full sentences just from reading her facial expressions.)
    • She does speak a total of twice. In Kagetsu Tohya, she gasps out Shiki's name during an...intense moment. In Melty Blood, she tells White Len (who sort of is Len's voice and intellect) to shut up, get back here, and stop screwing up reality.
    • She's also seen muttering to herself at one point in Kagetsu Tohya about the paradoxes and contradictions going on and hoping she can fix it before Shiki notices.
  • One of the Thorntails in Star Fox Adventures says "Mumble... mumble... not now..." when you try to speak with him, until after the WarpStone tells you to look for "He who has no voice". Then he'll spill. Apparently, he hasn't spoken in a while.
  • Claude Speed from Grand Theft Auto III never talks beyond grunts of pain when he gets shot. It's believed he actually lost his ability to speak somehow (tongue cut out, probably). This is supported somewhat; when he appears in San Andreas he's described as a "snake without a tongue".
  • Ward in Final Fantasy VIII starts out able to speak, but an encounter with some Esthar soldiers renders him mute for the rest of the game. However, Kiros and possibly Laguna have gotten REALLY good at reading his body language, to the point where they can interpret entire conversations with him.
    • Fujin is a variation. She normally only speaks in one or two word sentences until near the very end of the game, where she delivers a Reason You Suck Speech to Seifer.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy X. Kimahri is set up as being one of these characters, being stoic and silent for the first few hours, but he surprises Tidus by speaking, and after that he has no problems opening up (though he's hardly a chatterbox). His earlier extended silence is explained as him not liking Tidus.
  • The dabuses in Planescape: Torment communicate only in rhebuses. The Nameless One can decypher them with a moderate level of Intelligence, but getting other party companions' translations can reveal nuances in symbolism and more of those characters' personalities.
  • Pleinar from Disgaea, except in the first game where you access the Dark Assembly by speaking to her. She's silent if you recruit her in New Game+, though. In Disgaea 2 she's a news anchor but never speaks, instead letting her bunny/co-anchor/emergency food supply do the talking. At one point she's on the screen alone and proceeds to give the news in 30 seconds of silence.
  • Mathilda, the Black Baron's "ho" in MadWorld, never says a thing. She does, however, give little poses after punting the Baron into the latest deathtrap. She seems to enjoy her work.
  • Thor Herring in the later Backyard Sports games.
  • Halo 3: ODST gave us The Rookie, who, aside from grunts and yells, never says a single word. The Chief doesn't count, since he talks during both cutscenes and, starting with Halo 4, gameplay.
  • An even earlier example of a silent player character in a Bungie-made shooter would be the protagonist of Marathon.
  • Gordon Freeman from Half-Life. Lampshaded in Half-Life 2 when another character comments "Strong silent type eh?"
  • The player character from Saints Row never speaks during gameplay. He has exactly 4 lines in the game, each spoken during the final cutscene of a chapter. Subverted in the sequel, where he drops the mute act, and becomes a loudmouth nut.
  • Fuma Kotaro in Sengoku Basara takes this to the extreme, making no noise at all: he doesn't even breathe audibly. This apparently comes from the fact that he's a highly professional ninja that just focuses on his job and has no need for words. The creators lampshade this, using a gust of wind and the sound of a shuriken as his voice sample, and having him communicate exclusively in ellipses.
  • Samus Aran of Metroid used to be this. Metroid Fusion only had a few lines outside of journal entries, but in Metroid: Other M she talks constantly.
  • This describes many old school RPG protagonists the player controls. Even when you can choose things to say for them in certain conversations, you'll never hear the character's own dialogue. Take your pick: Crono, Vahn, Red (or really any Pokémon protagonist), Brian, Toan... even Mario, who often resorts to expressive pantomime in order to communicate.
  • In Dead Space, this is played straight with Isaac. He can talk in the sequel, though.
  • In Sonic Generations, Classic Sonic does not speak. Something of a nod to the Genesis games, where Sonic never spoke. Classic Tails, on the other hand...
  • Ryuji from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. He never speaks during his cutscenes, and he only speaks in the battle when he does his dash or you lose a clash with him ("See you in hell...") or when he is summoning his dragon ("Come out, dragon..."). The rest is just grunts.
  • Starfy from the Starfy series, who only speaks in squeals.
  • Isaku, the main antagonist and title character of the Isaku Survival Horror games and its anime adaptions, doesn't speak. He only communicates to the protagonist through notes narrated by someone else and videotapes of his deeds.
  • Isaac in the first Golden Sun game is a Heroic Mime, and Felix takes over the role in Golden Sun: The Lost Age. In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Isaac's son Matthew doesn't get any written lines, but it's implied that he speaks anyway; sometimes you'll be prompted to elucidate an emotional response to a remark, and if you choose "angry" in the right spot, Karis will remark, "Wow! Graphic!"
  • Hawke from Advance Wars 2 and DS partially qualifies. Where other Commanding Officers would cheer or lament at a good or bad turn of events for each simulated battle respectively, Hawke would only respond with "...", regardless of whether he suffered a crushing defeat or completely obliterated his opponent.
  • Madotsuki from Yume Nikki only says "No" and "Impossible" in the entire game and only if you try to leave her apartment. Justified, as there isn't any dialogue to be shared in the first place.
  • Chell from the Portal series. Word of God is that she can speak. She just won't speak to GLADOS or any of the other Aperture Science AIs since she doesn't want to give them the satisfaction of acknowledging them.
  • Enoch of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron only says two sentences in the entire game, which are "No problem. Everything's fine.". He repeats those sentences whenever he recovers from a deadly attack, but he never says anything else, leaving most of the talking to Lucifel.
  • The Ancient from the Space marine campaign of Dawn Of War II: Retribution never speaks, not even to confirm the player's orders, as he's taken a vow of silence to atone for past sins. That is until the latter portion of the campaign when he breaks his silence to verbally slap Diomedes out of a Heroic BSOD, Revealing himself to be Sargent Tarkus from D o W II and Chaos Rising.
  • Stavros "Bulldog" McGrogan, hero of A Spot of Bother and The Warlord, the Princess and the Bulldog communicated almost entirely through grunts and an occasional raised eyebrow. Practically the only time he spoke was to correct someone who tried to refer to him as "Mister Bulldog."
  • The Tenno player characters from the game Warframe have the capability to speak, but feel that actions speak better and instead communicate to each other using subtle gestures if any communication is needed. The only Tenno to speak so far is Valkyr, who upon using her "Warcry" ability emits a scream.
  • In Monaco, ignoring The Pickpocket's version of the story that suggests he's also the very-chatty Hacker, The Cleaner never says a word. Even when dragging himself away from the burning, exploded wreckage of The Gentleman's yacht with the rest of the crew, he only ever says "...".

    Web Animation 
  • The Poopsmith in Homestar Runner, who has taken a vow of silence (for no explained reason).
  • The entire intelligent cast of Adam Phillips' Brackenwood, and also Bingbong. Of the three, the Auld Sage barely speaks (one line per appearance, not counting the time he sang a Coldplay song), Lemonee Wee hasn't had cause to say much on screen, and Bitey spends most of his time around animals that can't talk back, so he doesn't bother.
  • Whenever Mario shows up in Bowser's Kingdom, he says nothing except the grunting from Charles Martinet.
  • Maine of Red vs. Blue was The Voiceless before becoming The Speechless, speaking clearly a grand total of three times in season 9 before being shot in the throat and becoming mute.

    Webcomics 
  • Nate from Bob and George actually cannot talk at all, save for the line "Behind you, doofus", back when he was just a Yellow Demon (and presumably before the author decided on that character quirk), and when they were all in a computer. He communicates with signs that come out of nowhere, so it doesn't really matter.
  • In the comic Unshelved, Colleen's adopted daughter Doreen never spoke for years, apparently because she was too little. When Dewey finally wondered about this, he found out she had been speaking — just not to him (and thus not to us, since he's the viewpoint character).
  • In The Wotch, when Jason/Sonja is turned into a child along with Anne and Robin, s/he never talks, instead communicating with thought bubbles (with pictures, not words.) Communication is accomplished by whispering (and we get graphical speech bubbles.) Gets one line at the end of the story, but it's not treated as a dramatic "Wow! S/he can talk!" moment, so it's possibly an oversight.
  • The title character from The Egregious Adventures of the Wom Wom Coconut, i.e., the coconut, never speaks. Its only direct mode of expression is the "wom wom" sound it makes while hovering. Anything the coconut "says" is described, not quoted, by the narrator.
  • Emm from The Wisdom Of Moo is an odd example. She speaks frequently, but never as herself — she's a ventriloquist who speaks only through her cow hand puppet, the eponymous Moo. Later on, she had to talk when Moo was in the wash, and made her shirt-sleeve into a makeshift sock puppet to do so... then ran away when she accidentally spoke for herself, rather than through a puppet.
  • Aylee from Sluggy Freelance recently became unable to talk due to having her throat slit by Oasis. Torg says she should get better eventually though.
  • Buddha is one of these in Sinfest, serving as a comparison for the in-your-face Devil and the Deadpan Snarker / Cloudcuckoolander God.
  • Scut from Gnoph never says anything apart from 'Kyuu!' and 'Ki!' (or variants thereof) except for one line, which was 'I'm sorry.'
  • Black, during his internship at the Leafy Bar in Bar'd. He spoke exactly once, and that was when he was offered another position. Not so dramatic now are you, Black?
  • The Touhou 4koma series Journal (warning: link leads to Danbooru, and thus may be NSFW, although the series itself is fine) involves several silent characters, most noticeably the main character Hakurei Reimu. As more silent characters are introduced later on, it seems that they are able to perfectly communicate with one another without words, often baffling those around them.
  • Stumps from Beyond the Canopy.
  • 3 from A Path To Greater Good.
  • In Wake the Sleepers, Ren appears as this until the end of the chapter.
  • In Question Duck, all the humans about the duck. Partly, perhaps, because of the difficulty of answering its off-the-wall questions. Except for #100 and #200. And in #277, while Leaning on the Fourth Wall after a Schedule Slip, one human asks where the duck and the man with him have been.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Amaya.
  • Monster Pulse: Greenie's kid.
  • Brother Finland of Scandinavia and the World was at first depicted as physically mute, communicating his thoughts with threatening knife gestures or the occasional (usually noverbal) sign. His only actual word was perkele. Later comics have revealed that he can speak both Finnish and, to his eternal shame, Swedish — it's just that he really, really hates talking, and avoids it whenever possible. Sister Finland, on the other hand, still hasn't spoken a single word in the comic.
  • Fefetasprite in Homestuck is only seen communicating through emotes. Though according to Roxy, they technically can talk, and is apparently quite the jabberjaw.
  • Theoretically Cthulhu in Cthulhu Slippers can speak, he just choses not to.

    Web Original 
  • Lucy in lonelygirl15, to sinister effect. She finally got a line in the late season 3 story "Prom: It's To Die For", although some fans were too busy reeling from the Wham Episode to notice.
  • The Watcher in KateModern, who appears frequently but never gets a line. Mostly, he just... watches. Silently.
  • The German radio drama Allimania (which is set in World of Warcraft) has the character Raoul. Everytime he speaks, the sound of a train is played and all character laugh about how funny he is... except for the female elf priestess, who does not believe that Raoul is NOT the Voiceless, despite what the other characters tell her.
  • The Ninja-Style Dancer on Atop the Fourth Wall only communicates with cue cards. Except in the Silent Hill: Dead/Alive review, but that was a hallucination.
  • Menelaos in Greek Ninja a lot of the time due to his limited knowledge of English.
  • Mime and Mole of Happy Tree Friends are the only ones who don't speak due to Mime being a mime although he can sometimes be heard to scream in pain as he's being killed and Mole being blind and deaf.
  • In Noob that is set in a MMORPG, Précieux breaks his microphone in Season 2 and uses the text chat function to convey what he wants to say. What was meant to be a one-off gag was so popular with the fans that three years later, Précieux'ss player has yet to get a new microphone.

    Western Animation 
  • Grown-up Maggie, in The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Wedding". Every time she is about to speak she is interrupted. (And just to rub it in, Dr. Hibbert comments, "Heh heh, she's quite a hellion but she does have an incredible voice." And in another scene, Homer mutters to himself "Doesn't that girl ever shut up?") In fact, the only words Maggie has said at all (barring "Treehouse of Horror" shorts, hallucinations, and The Movie) is "Daddy" (and, during the credits in the movie, "Sequel?", as well as the 20th season finale, where she repeatedly says "Ya" after the ambiguously Norwegian Ogdenvillians migrate to Springfield).
    • In another episode set in the future, "Holidays of Future Past", Maggie is now a famous rock star, but is instructed not to speak while pregnant, as it turns out that "the umbilical cord is also a vocal cord".
  • Longshot and Combustion Man on Avatar: The Last Airbender . Although Longshot eventually gets a line, Combustion Man doesn't. It's never made clear if he can speak or not, and it's too late now.
  • The title character of the Canadian cartoon Kevin Spencer does speak, and the other characters react appropriately, although the audience almost never hears his voice. Instead, the show's narrator tells us what Kevin is "saying".
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "The Incredible Mr. Brisby", the title character has an imposing black henchman who makes evil faces while carrying out his commands, but never speaks. Until the end, where in his final confrontation, he shrugs, "Man, I don't even need this job," and stalks off.
  • The title character in the Pink Panther cartoon almost never spoke in the original shorts. In fact, there were only two cartoons in which he actually spoke ("Sink Pink" with the voice of Paul Frees; "Pink Ice" with the voice of Rich Little). When he got his own spinoff series in the 1990's, he spoke in nearly every episode (voice of Matt Frewer).
  • The title characters of Tom and Jerry rarely speak beyond screams and yelps of pain. In some shorts they have at least one line of dialogue, and the only short in which both of them spoke throughout the picture was The Lonesome Mouse. Strangely enough, when the two hear each other talk in Tom and Jerry The Movie, they act very surprised despite having heard each other talk in past cartoons.
  • In Rugrats Dil can't talk he can hardly speak any words.
  • Pulgita from ˇMucha Lucha! She can only speak her brother's name and in later episodes and in The Movie she can't talk at all.
  • Snoopy from Peanuts doesn't really talk in the cartoons, but he does laugh, cry, and say words like "hey!", "ow!", and "woah!" On a few occasions in the specials (and regularly in the newspaper strip) we hear him "speak" through his thoughts.
  • In the Clerks: The Animated Series segments at the end of the episodes, starring the above Jay and Silent Bob, the trope is inverted: instead of referring to the Voiceless as someone who talks a lot, he refers to Silent Bob's supposed inability to talk. The twist is that during these segments, Bob talks completely normally.
    Jay: Kids, if Silent Bob could talk, he'd remind you that when you're camping, it's always smart to tie your food up in a tree at night so as not to attract bears.
    Silent Bob: Word.a
  • Furball from Tiny Toon Adventures usually only spoke through meows, but there were two episodes in which he talked. In "Buster and the Wolverine", after Sweetie is eaten by the wolverine, he comments on how he wanted to be the one to eat her. And in a Star Trek parody, he played the role of McCoy.
  • Although that isn't the case in Code Lyoko, in the working pilot for the series titled Garage Kids, Ulrich is The Voiceless. He says a total of two syllables — blink and you'll miss it.
    • XANA qualifies on the actual Code Lyoko. He only communicates with the heroes in two episodes, both times when he disguises himself as someone else; first as Jérémie and later as Franz Hopper.
  • Chilly Willy the Penguin from the Walter Lantz company almost never spoke; there are only a small handful of cartoons in which he actually speaks.
    • Then who is that singing his (first-person) theme song?
  • Hisomi, of the Ninja Tribunal in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), is one of these, due to his role as the Ninja Master of Stealth.
    • The Foot Elite Guard, almost. They rarely talk, but one of them did so in the episode where Karai debuted.
  • Jericho, a last-minute inductee of the Teen Titans cartoon, has no voice of his own. His power of possession allows him to use the voice of whomever he chooses to overshadow.
    • Ironically, this exception to the trope backfires when Jericho. infiltrating a villainous stronghold, uses a borrowed body to respond to another Mook's question. Turns out that the borrowed body's owner, Cinderblock, is also The Voiceless. "Since when can you talk?"
    • Also Kyd Wykkyd, a member of the HIVE Five.
  • Shelby Bitterman of Baby Blues never speaks aside from the occasional grunt or sneeze.
  • Hobie Brown in The Spectacular Spider-Man is always interrupted before he says anything, though he does eventually get to deliver a monologue from Shakespeare.
    • The series also has Mrs. Osborn who never speaks and only sits glumly. Norman Osborn isn't the greatest husband and father.
  • For all intents and purposes, Brainy from Hey Arnold! never ever says anything, just... snores.
    • Not all the time.
  • Curare in Batman Beyond. It's never made clear whether she can't speak or just chooses not to. (She does cry out in pain a couple of times if she's hit hard enough in a fight.)
  • In The Batman, both the Joker and the Penguin have a pair of henchmen who never speak.
    • The Joker has Punch and Judy, two hulking musclemen dressed like clowns. (In fact, when Clayface disguises himself as one of them and does speak, the Joker quickly smells a rat.)
    • The Penguin has the Kabuki Twins, two female assassins. (Given their blind loyalty to him and how no bare flesh is ever seen on either of them, some have speculated that they may be robots, or even mutated birds that he created using his mastery of orinthology.)
  • Debbie Grund, Buck Strickland's secretary and mistress from King of the Hill was silent until the episode "Hanky Panky" she is also killed off in that same episode.
    • The Firefighter "Beef" from "A Firefighting We Will Go" never speaks once but he does laugh plenty.
  • Snake Eyes from every incarnation of G.I. Joe, from the 80s cartoon, to Sigma 6, to Resolute, and now in Renegades, is a prime example of this.
  • The Chameleon in Spider-Man: The Animated Series is an odd case - he never once uses his own voice, instead imitating other people.
  • In one episode Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, Ms. Mimi appears this because of having laryngitis. She spends the whole episode communicating with Angelina and her friends by notes and music. Luckily, she got her voice back in the end.
  • Toki's Abusive Parents in Metalocalypse.
  • In TaleSpin, one of the Air Pirates never spoke out loud, only whispering into Don Karnage's ear. The pirate's name, ironically, was Gibber.
  • Transformers Prime Soundwave combines this with The Blank to creepy effect. Word of God says he does have a voice, but chooses not to use it since coming to Earthnote . Instead, he "talks" through recordings of others (and it's usually something snarky).
    • Averted in the Season 3 episode "Minus One", where he is captured and interrogated by the Autobots. Instead of giving them what they want, he deletes any information on him, and breaks his silence before shutting down.
      Soundwave: Soundwave superior. Autobots inferior.
  • Ricardo, Jasper's boyfriend in Family Guy only appeared twice in the series and in both episodes, he never speaks. This is handwaved by Japser, saying that "Ricardo doesn't speak any English."
    • Actually, he DOES speak in a deleted scene from "You May Now Kiss the, Uh, Guy Who Receives."
    • Susie Swanson doesn't talk since she is a baby and is not Stewie, but she has an inner voice that channels Patrick Stewart
  • TOM, the normally chatty and slick host of Toonami, never said a single word when block ran briefly on Kids' WB!.
  • Ashley T. from Recess hardly ever speaks on her own (as a joke done by the creators), except in six episodes and Recess: School's Out. The only other times she speaks are in group scenes.
  • Wile E. Coyote was mainly silent throughout the Road Runner series, except for the two-reeler The Adventures Of The Road Runner (a 1962 proposed pilot for a Road Runner TV show) where he answers a child's question on why he wants to catch the Road Runner and then using film to examine his shortcomings.

    He was voiced as a hilarious Smug Snake in four cartoons where he was paired against Bugs Bunny.
  • In Gargoyles, after the trauma of being mutated (probably painfully) into a cat-bat-fish thing by an Evilutionary Biologist, one poor man never speaks again. Nobody even knows his name, so they call him "Claw." All the others who were mutated in the same way still have the anatomy for human speech, so it's clear Claw was just psychologically damaged. This occasionally leads to charades/pantomime when he wants to express something.
  • Leonardo, the pint-sized assistant to Clyde Crashcup on The Alvin Show, never spoke out loud. He usually just whispered to Clyde.
  • On CB Bears, Blast-Off Buzzard and Crazy Legs Snake were both mute.
  • Stelio Kontos from American Dad! a man who bullied Stan in his childhood and is sometimes payed to beat up others, in both of his appearances he never utters a single word.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Equestria Games:
    • Though all four princesses are in attendance in this episode, Celestia and Luna don't speak, save for gasping when seeing the icy cloud, and saying, "You guess?!?!" with the Mane 6 and Cadance.
    • After the Ponyville relay team fly through the Cutie Mark Crusaders' hoop in the opening ceremonies shouting their Catch Phrases, Derpy follows them silently.
    • The Cloudsdale team appear prominently, but none of them have lines this time around.

    Real Life 
  • In fact, a decent number of people (about 1 in 150 children, the same ratio as autism, and much fewer adults) have an anxiety disorder called selective mutism. As it sounds, this makes them mute in certain situations, usually because of extreme anxiety about social situations or communication, though occasionally for no apparent reason. This exists on a spectrum, from being able to speak to only one person in one situation to being able to speak anywhere but school to speaking to anyone but a teacher, while using gestures, written words, non-word noises, and/or whispers or not communicating in no-speak situations. From the point of view of the people they do not speak to, a selectively mute person would be the voiceless.
  • One author who presents himself this way is ItsJustSomeRandomGuy[2], who does the "I'm a Marvel/And I'm a DC" shorts on YouTube.
  • Some autistic individuals themselves have what's known as nonverbal autism. Some have mental impairments that prevent speech but others have all the capabilities for speech — it's simply that other facets of the autism make it difficult to verbalize. It is essentially a form of selective mutism, but autistim-related rather than the above disorder. This can sometimes lead to others believing them mentally impared or incapable, but when they are given assistive devices, usually computer equipment, they can learn to communicate quite well. Others simply use pen and paper writing to communicate.
  • Meg White of The White Stripes was this, initially.
  • Mana from Malice Mizer and more recently Moi Dix Mois does this on purpose. During televised interviews he does not speak or emote, keeping a perfectly deadpan expression and opting to whisper his answers into a bandmate's ear so that they can answer for him, although he has been known to use mime and yes/no cards. According to him, this is because his music is his voice. So far he has kept it going for about 15 years with only two mistakes, not counting the time he sung through a distorter at a Malice Mizer live performance.
  • Lucius Sergius Catilina (or "Catiline"), the guy who almost destroyed the Roman republic in 64 BC doesn't have dialogue in ANY historical writings. His speeches are mentioned and he is occasionally quoted, but nobody has any idea what his own voice sounds like. All we've got are people talking about him, such as Sallust and Cicero.
    • Can also be used as an example of the "Voiceless Chatterbox", since Sallust describes a moment in the senate where he tries to defend himself against Cicero's verbal onslaught, but he's drowned out by the shouts of everyone else present.
  • It has been claimed that Josef Stalin virtually never spoke in public or allowed his voice to be recorded. In fact, not only did Stalin speak frequently live and on the radio (as, say, in the case of his famous "Brothers and sisters" speech after the German attack in 1941), but his historical speeches were widely released and later re-released on vinyl. They can be found on YouTube too: here's an example, a year before his death.
  • Indian mystic and spiritual leader Meher Baba stopped speaking in 1925, at the age of 31, and until his death in 1969, he only communicated by an alphabet board and hand gestures.
  • Movie critic Roger Ebert of Ebert and Siskel / Ebert and Roper, Lost his ability to speak after having his oral surgery from oral cancer in 2009. From that point on, He would use a text-to-spech. This happened until his death in April of 2013.
  • Teller, of Penn & Teller, in their various shows and specials, and their appearance on Babylon 5, with the sole exception being the end of Penn & Teller Get Killed. Teller also spoke on camera for a television series on magic, though he kept his his face completely obscured. Teller talks openly off camera, such as while meeting fans after live performances, and in non-performance contexts such as radio interviews, lectures, and panel discussions like at The Amazing Meeting.
    • A notable exception to this can be found in the Egypt episode of Penn & Teller's Magic And Mystery Tour. Teller speaks quite frequently there, on camera and in full view.
    • On his radio show, Penn Jillette revealed that Teller talks during every live show at least once, but it has to be a gimmick. Examples include arguing with Penn off-mic, speaking as an animatronic dummy of himself, or narrating his magic act aloud while an industrial wood chipper is drowning him out.
      • The speech-plus-gimmick format is retained in their TV series Penn & Teller: Bullshit!; Teller does speak occasionally, but he's usually facing away from the camera or has something in front of him. (One memorable example has Penn standing alone on the set, referencing the kiddy rhyme "Liar, liar, pants on fire"; Teller runs by in the background with his own pants actually on fire, screaming in ostensible terror.)
    • They used his voice when he appeared in an episode of The Simpsons. Just long enough to proclaim that he "was not the first Teller". One troper's family has a running joke about a "mass Teller grave" behind Penn's house.
    • The wood chipper example illustrates that Teller's silent act is a subversion of the typical magician's trope of stating the obvious throughout one's act: "I'm putting these needles on a thread, and I'm going to swallow them now..." Earlier in his career, it also made his act heckle-resistant, which was important when he was performing alone at frat parties. He later teamed up with Penn, who could simply shout over any crowd noise, but stayed silent so that they could maintain the integrity of their separate acts.
    • In his book God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, Penn mentions that people at their shows do hear Teller occasionally say a few things. Then they will go back to their families and friends and tell them that Teller never speaks. It's part of the show, kinda like how people don't actually want to see the magic of a trick undone.
  • Dane Cook mentioned this trope (and the "speaking for one dramatic moment") in one of his jokes about action movies. He says that every team in an action movie has the one guy who "never says anything, he just stands there. And he never talks, ever, except for like, one scene near the end where he says 'Let's go kill those bitches.'"
  • Moonie, in one version of his performance, (usually) will not speak, and instead use gestures, sounds, and the like to convey ideas. Then, towards the end of his act, after having found an audience member who can follow directions; then conveyed the idea that he will be juggling torches on a tightrope, and, if he catches fire, the volunteer should use a bucket of water on him, utters his first line Don't. Screw. Up
  • The guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They are only allowed to speak during the Changing of the Guard...unless someone is acting disrespectful.
    • This is just when they are on guard duty. The rest of the time they can do anything that anyone else in the Army can.
  • Guitarist Buckethead is well known for never talking in public or in front of cameras (with very few exceptions). Usually one of his friends and/or colleagues will talk for him the few times he's accepted an interview. Understandable, considering part of his stage persona is to be silent and awkward around people.
  • Some monks and nuns who have taken a vow, like the famous trappists.
    • Occasionally made fun of, like in this joke: A woman wants to become a trappist nun. Since she is a novice, she is allowed to speak two words per week (or month, or year, depending on the version of the joke). The first time she is allowed to speak, she says "bed hard", so she gets a softer mattress. The second time she says "food cold", so they care for this problem too. The third time, she says "I leave."
    Abbess: "Yes, that's better for all of us. You've been complaining all the time."
  • Cartoonist Bill Watterson, Creator of Calvin and Hobbes, has rarely talked out to the public since his retirement from comics in 1995. He has given rare Interviews, but they are very limited (You can count the interviews with one hand, they are that limited), and he has not done anything public since then.


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