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The Speechless

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For the American sitcom, see Speechless.

"You'll have your looks, your pretty face.
And don't underestimate the importance of body language!"
Ursula (to Ariel), The Little Mermaid

Someone who does not speak onscreen because they cannot speak at all.

They are intelligent; they do show signs of sapience — at least to us, the viewers, if not to the other characters. They may be able to vocalise on-screen, but it will not be in a known language — just the occasional sigh, gasp, or other such non-speech sounds — and none of the other characters will be able to interpret what they say. They will be able to gesture, but this may or may not convey any meaning to the other characters; they may play charades with them to figure out what they have to say. In extremes, may lapse into Talking with Signs — but only we the viewers get to see the signs.

Often surprisingly competent and tends to understand what is going on better than voiced characters, while being hilariously unable to communicate that understanding.

One popular use of this character is the Silent Snarker: While they never have any lines, they are highly facially expressive and used for many a Reaction Shot, Facepalm, or visual This Is Gonna Suck. They may even insult other characters in ways they can't understand.

One form of He Who Must Not Be Heard. Contrast also The Voiceless, who can talk, but just does not whenever we are watching. See also Heroic Mime, Cute Mute and Silent Antagonist. Compare The Unintelligible and Intelligible Unintelligible. If they never speak, but they sing during a musical number, then they are The Singing Mute. May use a Voice for the Voiceless or Mouth of Sauron. Not to be confused with a character who Never Learned to Talk; The Speechless is physically incapable of speech.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Isora from Arata: The Legend cannot speak at all, due to having his tongue ripped out while he was being prosecuted as a witch, but can communicate with others (usually Kikutsune) with his mind.
  • Although she first appears to just be incredibly quiet Chane Laforet from Baccano! is later revealed to have lost her ability to speak several years before the series began. She appears to have willingly given up her voice. She communicates by way of hand gestures and body language/expressions.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, after Nezuko becomes a demon, she loses her ability to speak along with most of her memories of her life as a human. While she can make sounds and express her feelings through her actions, she cannot say any coherent words. Later on, after being able to withstand the sun again, she slowly regains her ability to speak.
  • In Dissolving Classroom, Keiko becomes this due to barely escaping the horrifying fate of her classmates who were subjected to Yuuma's apologies; her brain only partially melted, and the resulting damage left her unable to speak. In the last chapter, she finally gets enough of her speech back to scream "STOP IT!" at Yuuma and then at once liquefies.
  • Doraemon: In "A World Without Sound", no one can speak at all due to the "What if?" Box taking away the sound.
  • Kid Buu in Dragon Ball Z only has one intelligible line in the manga, with the rest of his utterances being either gibberish or laughter. The Funimation dub averted this by giving him a few extra lines, all of them extremely childish in nature.
  • In Fruits Basket, Yuki and Kisa both temporarily lose the ability to speak, the former after being bullied by his mother, Kyo, and Akito, and the latter after being mocked by her classmates for her unusual blonde hair. They both recover thanks to their interaction with Tohru.
  • Helen of Helen ESP, what with her being made blind, deaf, and mute from a terrible accident. Possibly named after the real life deaf-blind figure Helen Keller.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: In the Stardust Crusaders spin-off; The Genesis of Universe, Michal is mute due to throat wounds she sustained in a train accident.
  • Garyu of Lyrical Nanoha is clearly intelligent and can understand human speech but never speaks. Being a humanoid insect that lacks a mouth may have something to do with it.
  • Mokona, from Magic Knight Rayearth can only say "Puu," making him also The Unintelligible. While he may not seem to act like it and is given little respect, Mokona is more intelligent than anyone else in the cast — but the details are a monumental spoiler.
  • In Manga de Hakken! Tamagotchi, the Tamagotchis do not speak. This contrasts with a lot of other media based on Tamagotchi where the Tamagotchis are capable of some form of speech.
  • Donquixote Rosinante from One Piece plays with this with his Devil Fruit, the Nagi Nagi no Mi / Calm-Calm Fruit. What it does is enable him to project a sound barrier around himself, and he normally uses this to simulate the trope, though it is more versatile than just that.
  • Genma Saotome in Ranma ½ is The Speechless when in panda form, forcing him to communicate by Talking with Signs. An early gag from the manga had him trying to answer a telephone, before hanging up in frustration and holding up a sign reading: "Argh! Pandas can't answer the phone!"
  • Gola Mosca, the robot from Reborn! (2004). Did not stop him from getting his own Image Song.
  • Shiro in Shakugan no Shana — he is a reanimated skeleton and therefore has no vocal cords.
  • TEX from Time of Eve, since he is a Three Laws-Compliant robot who has been ordered not to speak. Subverted later, if only temporarily, when the First Law overrides the order.
  • The Unpopular Mangaka and the Helpful Onryo-san: It's unknown if Onryo-san can talk at all, but she hasn't so far.
  • Although the manga What's Michael? takes place across countless settings, from modern Japan to Funny Animal worlds, the one constant is that the titular cat never speaks.
  • Combined with The Unintelligible, Zombie Land Saga gives us THE LEGENDARY YAMADA TAE! She is the only zombie to remain unawakened, sticking to the growls and groans of the shambling undead (and the occasional rooster crow and garbled imitations of the awakened zombies), which makes her interactions with the other zombies a little awkward. Especially when she keeps trying to eat them.

    Comic Books 
  • Pvt. Elliot "Lucky" Taylor of DC's Creature Commandos. He "survived" stepping on a landmine, in the sense that over a period of weeks a large team of surgeons was able to piece him back together in a grisly approximation of Frankenstein's monster. They did what they could, not all the parts could be salvaged or replaced or even put back in the right place — he has no vocal cords and cannot even so much as grunt.
  • Gyro's little helper in Disney Duck Comics. He sometimes gets thought balloons, but they usually have pictures in them not words.
  • Polish character Emilka Sza is a mime who is unable to make sound since the day she was born. She makes up for it with pantomime.
  • The Monster in The Frankenstein Monster starts out talkative like his book counterpart but loses his ability to speak for several issues when a vampire-bite tears his larynx.
  • Snake-Eyes of G.I. Joe due to head injuries. Still clearly understood in multiple battle situations somehow.
  • Black Bolt of The Inhumans is unable to speak because his voice is so powerful that a mere whisper is enough to send the Hulk at his strongest flying. You know, the Hulk. As king of the Inhumans, Black Bolt tends to let his wife, Medusa, speak for him.
  • Judge Dredd: One prequel story focused on the Dark Judges (evil zombie versions of the regular Judges) featured a minor character called Judge Silence. His hands were morphed into his face, so his mouth was permanently sealed shut.
  • In Love and Rockets, Khamo's ability to speak clearly was lost when he became severely burned. He is only capable of making hissing and rattling sounds, though somehow, his daughter Casimira can translate for him.
  • Marvel Comics' Awesome Android has no vocal components. He used Talking with Signs in his appearances in She-Hulk.
  • Humberto / Hummer from Monica's Gang, who only speaks through "Hmmm."
  • The Torso from Newcastle in Strontium Dog, owing to lack of a head. In one strip, he makes a witty comment in sign language — but, as the narrator notes, since nobody was looking at him at the time, his remark is lost forever.
  • In Superman, General Zod's associate Non is mute because he was lobotomized. Although his intelligence did suffer, he occasionally shows signs that he is smarter that he looks. Before his surgery, he was Jor-El's lab partner. In the original movie (Zod's sidekicks are Canon Immigrants) it may not even have been that: He was clearly as intelligent and as deliberately nasty as the others.
  • Jericho from Teen Titans. His vocal cords were cut when he was a child. He communicates via sign language. He can speak if he owns someone with a voice, and that person was unconscious at the time he owned them.
  • Artie Maddicks from X-Men was mute but could communicate in images using his mutant power of creating holograms.
  • The Mask Big Bad Walter never speaks throughout the entire run, in stark contrast to the extremely talkative Big Heads. It's played for satire in the spin-off Walter: Campaign of Terror where he managed to launch a successful mayoral campaign despite the minor handicap of never uttering a single syllable. Why he doesn't depend on the continuity; in the original comics he can't because he took a bullet to the throat, but his animated incarnation is implied to be The Voiceless who can talk but chooses not to.

    Comic Strips 
  • Sphinx from Dick Tracy. He destroyed his voice when he accidentally drank a glass of poison he intended for a friend of his.
  • Big Stoop from Terry and the Pirates. The Dragon Lady had his tongue torn out when they were children.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In Brave New World the Buneary ninja Dawn (yes, that Dawn!) cannot speak due to her throat being ripped out by her father when she was born. She communicates using "Clickspeak", a morse-code-like tapping of her foot. Tiny the Larvitar also does not talk, due to severe pre-hatching trauma. He gets better.
  • Snow Storm from Cape and Cowl; the murder of her brother traumatized her to the point that she cannot speak.
  • Concerning a Drifter:
    • Mai, who can't talk, and it is not said why.
    • Yayoi is this, as she does vocalize but uses signs and gestures to communicate. Satsuki, narration wise, did guess as to why she cannot talk, concluding that she is either hearing or speech impaired. When she does say something clearly, it is "Mama".
  • Darkness Stole the Sky's Link is a mute who can only communicate through vague gestures. Only Malon and Zelda can understand his gestures normally, but everyone can do so in the Chamber of the Sages and while Link has the Spirit Medallion. Even the audience is locked out of Link's thoughts except in these instances.
  • In An Entry with a Bang!!, Brox cannot speak due to throat injury, so he types instead. There's talk of fixing this, though.
  • Ditzy Doo from Fallout: Equestria had her tongue cut out by slavers before the story begins and communicates via pantomime or writing notes on a small chalkboard.
  • Lost to Dust: Unlike in canon, Neo starts out able to speak, but she loses her voice after she barely survives Penny slitting her throat.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has Nomad, who cannot speak due to botched programming.
  • In The Night Unfurls: Hugh cannot speak because of having his throat mutilated by a bandit. Only Sanakan can somehow know what he is thinking via facial expressions, so he must use a charcoal stick and parchmentnote  as a means of communication.
  • The Pokémon Squad: Red is mute, so he compensates by Talking with Signs. Said signs show him to be quite the Disabled Snarker, especially regarding Ash.
  • In Pokémpanions, Poipole only makes vocal sounds, and does not say any full words.
  • Red from the Pokémon fan fic Speak Up is born mute. He compensates by learning sign language.
  • Firefly The Porn in My Head has Mal losing his ability to speak after his throat is wounded in an explosion.
  • Ultra Fast Pony has Mutation, who is mute. She also has the superpower of silencing everyone around her.
  • The Vasto of White: Masaki Kurosaki gets turned into a Hollow and later an Arrancar. For some reason, she loses her voice. Since the other residents of Hueco Mundo don't know her name, they name her "Silent".
  • In the old crossover What Insertion?, this trope is zigzagged in the case of Deep-Sea Dolphin following her transfer to the story's setting. If she is underwater, she can communicate normally. Outside of it, only water-type Pokemon can hear her; otherwise, everyone — herself included — cannot hear a single thing she says, forcing her to rely on a notepad or signs to make herself understood.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Giant Magnet and Car Crusher from The Brave Little Toaster (although the latter may not be intelligent or sentient).
  • Other Wybie in the movie version of Coraline. Because the Other Mother thought Coraline would prefer it that way.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Abu, Rajah, and especially the Magic Carpet from Aladdin. Abu, however, can speak in screeching gibberish, occasionally venturing into screeching English, placing him closer to The Unintelligible. Averted with Iago, though in his case it is justified because he is a (possibly magically enhanced) parrot.
    • Fish Out of Water in Chicken Little pantomimes and makes bubble noises with his voice, but he never talks.
    • Dumbo:
      • The title character never says anything throughout the whole movie (all the talking is done by his mouse sidekick). We never find out if he is mute (because he is a baby) or simply chooses not to talk. He does audibly sneeze at the beginning and hiccup when he gets drunk, though. In the storybook adaptation of the movie, however, he is given an interior monologue, so we "hear" him "speak" that way. He apparently did learn to talk when the Disney Channel did the Spin-Off series Dumbo's Circus, though. His voice, provided by Katie Leigh (a.k.a. Baby Rowlf in Muppet Babies), is mumbly and quiet, but he does have an extensive vocabulary.
    • In The Lion King (1994), the hyenas Shenzi and Banzai talk, but Ed does not; he only laughs.
    • In The Little Mermaid Ariel becomes this, trading her voice to a Wicked Witch in exchange for becoming human. To stay human, she must get Eric to fall in love with her and kiss her within three days, which is difficult since she cannot talk to him.
    • Gideon the cat from Pinocchio is mute. He was originally meant to be voiced by Mel Blanc, but in the end all his dialogue was cut, and Blanc's only contribution to a Disney movie were a few hiccups.
    • Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Happy explains that they do not know whether he can talk or not because he is never tried to (in real life, it was because they could not find a suitable voice actor for him). He can, however, scream, hiccup, and cry.
  • Ice Age:
    • Despite making lots of noise, Scrat does not speak.
    • Mama T.Rex and Rudy in the third film.
  • The Little Mermaid: As in the original fairy tale, the Mermaid sacrifices her Beautiful Singing Voice to the Sea Witch to become human so she can be with the prince she loves.
  • Diesel in Robots lacks a voice box for most of the film and as a result cannot speak, communicating mostly through body language and facial expressions. However, Bigweld gives him a new voice box at the Dance Party Ending, allowing him to sing James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing".
  • A Monster in Paris:
    • An interesting version of this occurs with the eponymous monster. Francoeur seems incapable of speech and communicates with chirps, but during the musical sequences can sing. This may have something to do with the fact that he got his voice from a singing potion, which does not cover the ability to talk.
    • Within the same movie is Charles, a monkey, who communicates by writing on cards.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, Vinyl Scratch never speaks at all, despite having a role as a secondary character. Before that, she was a popular background pony, but never really expected to talk. What really pushes her into this is, in the prequel novel, she communicates to people next to her via text messaging.
  • Remy from Ratatouille is a semi-example. While he can speak, he only speaks "rat," which we hear as English when he speaks to other rats, but which his human co-star Linguini only hears as squeaks. However, he is incredibly good at charades and can control the actions of Linguini when the human allows him to ride on his head and pull on his hair.
  • The Sandman in Rise of the Guardians can usually be understood, so long as the other guardians notice he is trying to tell them something, since he can make pictures with his dream sand to show his meaning. However, as shown when the Man in the Moon was contacting them, he can have an extremely tough time getting their attention in the first place since not only can he not talk, but he seems unable to make sounds at all.
  • Saoirse from Song of the Sea is six years old, but still has not spoken a single word (with her father Conor mentioning having consulted a doctor about it). This is later revealed to be because she is half selkie; Conor has hidden her selkie coat, and she cannot speak without it. She can finally speak after she is reunited with her coat, and after her mother Bronagh severs the tie between her and the fairy world, she is able to speak permanently.
  • The titular Thief in The Thief and the Cobbler was written and animated as this, but when it was taken out of Richard Williams' hands, the 1995 Arabian Knight cut added a "thoughts" voiceover for him and Tack the cobbler (who almost never spoke). Re-edits closer to the intended concept leave the characters be.
  • Quark the giant child from Valhalla never says a word throughout the film, but he does laugh, cry, cheer, and make other vocal sounds.
  • Gromit, of Wallace & Gromit, who somehow makes his feelings clear to the audience (but not Wallace) purely by moving his clay eyebrow.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 101 Dalmatians (1996), Mr. Skinner is this. According to Jasper when he explains to Horace about Skinner, when he was young, he had his vocal cords ripped out from his throat by a dog. However, he can only wheeze and use Morse-code to communicate with Cruella De Vil when on the telephone.
  • In Beyond Sherwood Forest, Gareth cannot speak because the Sheriff cut out his tongue after murdering his parents and burning his village.
  • Charlie from The Black Balloon (2007) has been mostly nonverbal since early childhood. He can only make approximations of some words, like "kuh"note  and "no."
  • Carl in Black Zoo. In a flashback at the end of the movie, it is revealed that he has been mute ever since he saw his mother mauled to death by a lion on the orders of his father.
  • The titular character in Bumblebee is silent for most of the film, as he loses his voice box. Through his human friend Charlie, he learns how to use his radio to speak for him.
  • The Candy Snatchers: Not only is Sean unable to talk but he also does not make any vocal noises at all. The closest he comes is mouthing "pew" when Candy asks him if he knows what killing is.
  • In Cannibal Girls, the Reverend's servant Bunker communicates only through weak moaning noises.
  • The Thin Man in the Charlie's Angels movie duology. In the first film he is simply mute, in the second it is implied he is an Elective Mute due to childhood trauma. He tries to speak but is killed (or is he?) before we find out if he is capable.
  • Curse of the Crimson Altar: Basil, Professor Walsh's sinister chauffeur/assistant, is a mute. Robert discovers this when he tries to choke answers out of him, only for Professor Walsh to inform him that Basil would not be capable of answering him even if he were not being strangled.
  • In David's Mother, the autistic teenager David grunts, moans, and occasionally screams, but does not talk.
  • The Demoniacs: After trauma of the rape, the two girls become mute but can convey their acceptance of the terms of the Deal with the Devil through drawings.
  • In The Dentist the titular protagonist, Dr. Alan Feinstone, cuts off his wife's tongue as a punishment for her infidelity. Brooke, the wife, gets better for the sequel, but she is left mute for life and forced to use written notes and simple gestures to be understood.
  • In The Devil Commands, Dr. Blair's mentally-challenged servant Karl suffered brain damage and lost the ability to speak during an accident while Dr. Blair was recording his brainwaves.
  • Katya from Die Hard with a Vengeance is mute from an assassination attempt that left prominent scarring on her throat. However, in her final scene, she does scream angrily (and incoherently) while firing on John McClane and Zeus Carver.
  • Nat the Gypsy in Dobermann is deaf and non-verbal, communicating through sign language. She does make some inarticulate cries of pain or rage during the film and manages to articulate a single word towards the end: "Fuckers!".
  • Cindy in Don't Breathe does not say a word in her entire time onscreen because she is gagged when Rocky and Alex rescue her and is killed before the gag can be removed.
  • Lupita Lozoya, Max's sister in Don't Turn the Other Cheek!, is mute. Her late husband, Max's brother-in-law, was a revolutionary who was killed and Lupita herself spoke strongly against the tyranny in Mexico and as a result her tongue was cut out.
  • Combined with The Unintelligible, Pip, the chipmunk from Enchanted, cannot talk like a person in New York because... well, in the real world, animals cannot talk (they only make noises). He knows what is going on from the beginning of the movie, but despite his highly creative charades, is never able to convey it to the air-headed Prince Edward. Ironically in Andalasia, he has a Noo Yawk accent.
  • Kyoko from Ex Machina is at first explained to not know English, but she never uses her voice even once and in fact might not be able to speak at all. Nathan explicitly says the language barrier is a safeguard against privacy leaks. However, it is finally revealed that she does understand English, since she does as Ava suggests and stabs Nathan.
  • In Faceless, Gordon, the creepy orderly who acts as The Igor to Dr. Flamand, is a near mute whose vocalizations are limited to unintelligible grunts.
  • In Five Easy Pieces, Robert's father has been made mute by a series of strokes. Robert has an emotional one-sided conversation with him.
  • The Professor Guinea Pig from the original The Fly (1958) could not speak after his teleporter accident swapped his head with a housefly's, so communicated with chalkboard, typewriter, and by knocking on tables.
    • In the 1986 version, the equivalent character undergoes a Slow Transformation into a human-insect hybrid. He can still speak until his lover Veronica accidentally rips his decaying jaw off, whereupon — having effectively lost the last major tie to his original form, his voice — his body undergoes its final metamorphosis into an inhuman, voiceless beast.
  • Himmler, the Baron's hulking footman, does not speak a word in Frankenstein 1970. It is not clear if he is mute or if he can speak and just chooses not to.
  • Gymnasia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. See theater for her theatrical counterpart. In the movie version, instead, she gets her fetish tendencies toned down, but she is still a towering blonde Amazonian Beauty expressing herself in made-up language (resembling just a funny barrage of unrelated charades) who Pseudolous only can understand. When Pseudolous reveal that Gymnasia's gestures meant something, the others show genuine surprise, believing her to be just The Unintelligible.
  • Wu Chen in Ghost Rock. He never makes a sound, even when receiving fifty lashes. Comments from other characters show that he is mute, but the reason is never mentioned.
  • In God's Gun, Johnny is struck dumb after seeing Father John gunned down by the Clayton Gang in front of his eyes.
  • The Golem from the silent movie classic The Golem, which is faithful to traditional Golem lore.
  • In The Great Silence, the main character never speaks due to having had his throat cut.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong turns Kong into one of these by teaching him sign language. He's always been able to roar and snarl, of course, but this is the first movie in which he is revealed to be mentally capable of proper communication.
  • In Hardcore Henry, Henry is a man brought back from the dead as a cyborg after being mutilated beyond what conventional medicine could fix, but just as he is about to get a new voice box installed, the action kicks off, so he never gains the ability to speak. He communicates in other ways, like using hand gestures and using his finger to write words in his blood.
  • Kroenen from Hellboy (2004), due to cutting off his own lips, among other things. He can talk in the original comic.
  • In Henry & Verlin, Verlin is unable to speak. At first, he never even makes any vocal noises; after he befriends Henry, he starts showing emotions like laughing and screaming.
  • Hush has Maddie, who does not speak throughout the movie because she is deaf and non-verbal.
  • John Wick: Chapter 2. Ares is a mute assassin who nevertheless can constantly snark the hero despite only communicating through sign language.
    John Wick: [finding Ares blocking his escape route] Loose ends?
    Ares: [signing] Just. One.
  • Belinda from Johnny Belinda is deaf and non-verbal after having contracted an illness while she was a baby.
  • Alyce Sangre in King of the Zombies has been driven into a near-catatonic state by her husband's experiments. The only sounds she utters are few strangled gasps as Barbara tries to deprogram her.
  • In The Man Who Turned to Stone, Eric, Dr. Murdock's Battle Butler, is mute as a result of the immortality process that went wrong and is turning him to stone.
  • In Mario (1984), the titular child is completely mute. He grunts, whispers, and screams at different points in the movie, but the closest he comes to actual speech is croaking out "Ma..." a few times.
  • In Mermaid, Alice starts a fire that causes a building to burn down and she refuses to speak until she is a teenager.
  • In Mermaid Down, the mermaid's nonhuman physiology only allows her to vocalize in the form of grunts or shrieks. She also turns out to know sign language, which her ancestors learned from pirates.
  • In Nightworld: Lost Souls, the autistic twelve-year-old Meghan has never spoken a word. Her parents are astonished when she starts singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" along to a music box, especially when they hear two voices singing along with her even though she's alone.
  • In Never Grow Old, Dutch's henchman Dumb-Dumb can't speak because his tongue was cut out by a Cherokee.
  • Lydia from The Others (2001) is mute due to a trauma that stays unspecified until the end of the film—the discovery that she (and her two fellow servants) has died from Tuberculosis traumatises her so much that she never speaks again.
  • Roach in The People Under the Stairs, whose tongue Man and Woman cut out for talking back.
  • Asham, the mute slave in the Biblical epic The Prodigal. He lost the ability to speak because of some childhood illness.
  • Kai from Robot Holocaust, due to having his tongue cut out by the Amazons.
  • The title character of Shandra: The Jungle Girl never speaks. A Nubile Savage from the jungles of South America, she certainly does not speak English, and it seems likely that she does not know any human languages.
  • Elisa, the heroine of The Shape of Water, is mute, and speaks only through sign language. We're told that someone slashed her vocal chords when she was a baby, giving her very distinct scars on her neck. At the end, the scars magically transform into gills, suggesting that she may never have had human vocal chords to begin with. This is also what first draws her sympathy to the Amphibian Man, who, like her, is unable to vocally communicate.
  • Silent Tongue: The title character cannot speak because she had her tongue cut out for lying to the headman.
  • Deacon, the main psycho in Timber Falls, is mute: his vocal cords destroyed in the same accident that mangled the right side of his face.
  • For much of the film Tommy, the title character is made entirely deaf, blind and mute after being traumatised as a young child by the sight of his stepfather killing his (previously believed killed during World War II) father in front of his mother very shortly after the father re-appears. He does get better... eventually, but it is a couple of decades (at least) before he snaps out of it.
  • Tower of London (1962): Richard's Torture Technician Galvan is mute. Tyrus is able to poison him by promising him a potion that will restore his speech.
  • Bumblebee from the Transformers Film Series was not able to speak, only communicating through the radio, due to events before the movie started where Megatron had ripped out his vocal processors. However, in the second movie, after he recovers, he still uses the radio to "speak", as Sam says he plays it up to be cute.
  • Under the Piano: As a young child, Rosetta never makes any vocal noises at all, and for several years after that, she only hums and never speaks.
  • In When the Bough Breaks (1994), the mentally disturbed teenager Jordan can make vocal noises like humming and screaming, and can communicate by writing in crayon, but never speaks, aside from whispering "Help me" twice at one point.
  • When Time Got Louder: The autistic teen Kayden doesn't talk, although he sometimes makes grunting sounds that approximate words. He communicates mostly with an AAC app on his phone.
  • In The Witch Files, Crazy Sarah, the homeless woman, is mute: capable of making only inarticulate grunts. She communicates by writing notes on a pad. It is later revealed that having her voice taken away was the price she paid for using magic.
  • Jason Stryker from X2: X-Men United, is physically unable to speak due to the current state of his body, leaving his "child self" to speak for him. In a deleted scene, he manages to weakly blurt out a few words while being mind-controlled into helping Xavier escaped, although this turns out to be yet another one of Jason's illusions.

  • Julie Berry's All The Truth Thats In Me is a book about a girl who has had half her tongue cut out. Although she can speak at the end, she just did not realise she could because her superstitious mother forbade her from trying.
  • Isaac Asimov
  • The ex-P.O.W. in Beachwalker has been mute since birth. As it turns out, this was a large part of the reason he was captured in the first place — he was unable to call for help.
  • John Mathew of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series is mute (born that way) and relies on American sign language, whistling, writing on a notepad, and a variety of body language to communicate with others.
  • Saro in Patricia A Mckillip's The Book of Atrix Wolfe, after the spell.
  • Books of the Raksura: Zig-zagged with the centuries-old Stone. Raksura can usually speak both in their Human and Draconic forms, but Stone's shifted form has grown so much larger and Stronger with Age that he needs to be in human form to speak intelligibly.
  • In The Broken Crescent, the Ghadi are an entire race of these. Due to an ancient curse, they cannot speak, nor can they understand any type of spoken or written language.
  • Daelyn Rice, the lead character of By The Time You Read This Ill Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters, has been made temporarily mute due to the damage caused to her vocal cords when she drank ammonia and bleach in a failed suicide attempt. She also must wear a neck brace and needs to have all her meals liquefied in a blender. By the end of the story, however, she tries speaking a few words.
  • Chalion: Umegat's assistant Daris is an elderly little man who is missing his thumbs and tongue. The missing tongue means that he cannot speak, but he does make various mouthed hums, welcoming noises, and other sounds.
  • Dramatically subverted at the very end of the children's book Cheltinghams Party. The title character is a cat who throws the feline equivalent of a Wild Teen Party while his master is away. When the master returns, she sees the mess everywhere and teasingly tells Cheltingham, "You have a lot of explaining to do!" Without any hesitation, Cheltingham looks right at her and says, "Cats don't talk."
  • The Corrupted Chronicles of Coco Claramisa: Mimic is the one character who does not say a thing throughout the entire book. Justified on account of him being a mime.
  • Subverted in The Dinosaur Lords, when Rob thinks that Karyl does not speak because of the axe in the head the man's got earlier in the story. Turns out he was just faking muteness to avoid people querying about his past.
  • Discworld:
    • The Librarian, who has been turned into an ape, can only speak in Orangutan, and to us that sounds like only one word, "Ook", repeatedly (with an occasional "Eek!"). Sometimes he must do charades to get people to understand him. The author has danced around the question of why a librarian, of all people, never thinks of writing down what he wants to say. In The Last Continent, a magical illness briefly turns him into a book. The book has no title, but every single page is filled with the word "Ook". In The Last Continent, he kept a one-word vocabulary when he is transformed into a penguin ("Awk!), and later a dolphin ("Eek!).
    • The Death of Rat's vocabulary is limited to "SQUEAK", with occasional variations ("SNH, SNH, SNH"). Death understands it perfectly, as do Albert and Quoth the raven; Susan does not necessarily know what it says, only what it means.
    • Also, Discworld golems cannot speak because they have no tongues, this being a blasphemy. They have slates and a piece of chalk which they write words on. In later novels, they are "re-made" with clay tongues and hence can speak, though they tend to be very literal minded.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ciarra cannot talk. No one knows exactly why this is, it is just some of the various ills that befall the family. Of the family members living in castle Hurog, Ciarra's elder brother Ward is the most mentally healthy one (he lost his speech for some time when his father nearly killed him and has been Obfuscating Stupidity ever since.) Everyone else ranges from complete Cloudcuckoolander (the mother) over suicidal (the brother) to sociopathic killer (the father). There is a kind of curse on the family and their castle. Ciarra does get better once the curse is broken and/or she gets away from castle Hurog.
  • Celty from Durarara!!, being headless and thus unable to speak, types what she wants to say on her PDA or home computer and shows it to people. In the anime adaptation, her messages and thoughts are accompanied by a voice-over as a matter of convenience for the viewer. Sometimes it is not even properly conveyed that she is not speaking, because the VA speaks (and the listener appears to be listening) before they look at the screen. Somehow there are some people who she has spoken to before she began speaking through her PDA.
  • The Emperor's Gift: The commander of Hyperion's Grey Knight squad, Justicar Galeo, was made incapable of speech by a terrible injury to his throat. Galeo's lack of speech does not hinder him in any way, however, as he is able to communicate through telepathy.
  • In The Empress Game, Kayla's brother Corinth hasn't spoken aloud since the deaths of the rest of their family, but he does speak to her telepathically. That is okay when they are alone, but since they are trying to keep their background secret (and telepathy would give the game away), it is problematic when in company — Kayla cannot always use telepathy back, and there is a risk she would respond aloud to something he had only said telepathically.
  • In the Erebus Sequence, Anea cannot talk due to having no jaw behind her veil. At first, she uses Talking with Signs; then she develops Hand Signals.
  • Skylar St. Clair from Gives Light. His throat was cut when he was a small child and his vocal cords never healed. Note that while he cannot talk to the other characters, he is the narrator of the book, so the reader always knows what he would say if he could.
  • Lucy-B091, a Spartan-III supersoldier introduced in the novel Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, lost her voice to "post-traumatic vocal disarticulation": At the age of 12, she was so traumatized from seeing 298 members of her 300-man force slaughtered that she never spoke another word in her life after asking "How are you sure we're alive?" to the other survivor, Tom-B292. It's not until Halo: Glasslands that she speaks again.
  • John Singer, the central character of Carson McCullers' The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, is deaf and non-verbal. Much of the novel involves his relationship with another deaf and non-verbal character, Spiros Antonapoulos.
  • Aside from the rare squeak or hiss, Meparik of Heralds Of Rhimn is mute. This can make communication a pain between him and people who do not know Gesture, a feyrie sign language, but he makes do with writing when he must.
    • Like Meparik, Fraihz is also mute. After the Irongardhe slit their previous Herald’s throat with an enchanted knife, they lost the ability to speak, getting by instead with Gesture and mental images.
  • Avoxes, in The Hunger Games, are traitors who have had their tongues mutilated as punishment by the Capitol. Avox means 'without voice'.
  • Anthony from In Two Worlds is as intelligent as anyone else but cannot coordinate his mind and his body well enough to talk. He can make a few sounds, like "sah-weh" for "sandwich," but only people who know him can understand them.
  • Charlotte from The Key to Charlotte can't manage to put sounds together into words, so she communicates with a text-to-speech program on her phone. She also knows sign language, but hardly anyone else in her town does, so she hardly ever uses it.
  • Cody from Language Arts knew a lot of words as a toddler but lost all of them. For a while he could sign his name but lost that ability too. Now he can only say "Gaaaah" (short for "God," the last word to go) and sign some letters, like D for dad.
  • Michael, narrator and protagonist of The Lock Artist, has been silent since the age of eight because of psychological trauma.
  • Toki is this in the 31st Madgie, what did you do? because she has had her vocal cords removed on the grounds it was implied that she is known something she was not supposed to, which is to say, of a genetically engineered bioweapon. Naturally, her sister, Doki, must speak for her.
  • In The Malloreon, Toth, Cyradis' strong but silent companion who is sent to go with Garion and company on their new adventure. Toth communicates only in vague, broad gestures with his arms, yet Durnik (to whom he usually "talks") can perfectly understand him. It is not until The Seeress of Kell that Durnik figures out the truth: Toth, like all Dals, is telepathic, and has been using the gestures to disguise the fact he has been projecting what he wants to convey directly into Durnik's mind. It should be noted that the exact reason Toth is silent is never explained but the silence is total; even when he is killed, he never utters a sound.
  • The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester: Sam was nonverbal during their years as a Foster Kid, which people thought was due to reactive attachment disorder. Their first words were "Thank you," spoken to their adopted father on their eighth birthday.
  • The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family: Caroline Finkel is a nonspeaking autistic and communicates with a speech app on her tablet. She uses the British setting because it makes her sound grown up.
  • The Mermaid's Sister: After Maren fully transforms into a mermaid, she loses the ability to speak. She communicates instead through gestures. She regains her voice once she finally reaches the ocean.
  • The Silent Brothers from The Mortal Instruments cannot speak due to Runes that mutilate their appearance, instead communicating through Telepathy.
  • The dragon breeder Sarkkhan in the Pit Dragon Chronicles looked to breed a mute fighting dragon, seeing their inability to roar as a potential advantage in the pits. He succeeds with Heart's Blood.
  • Planet Earth Is Blue:
    • Nova can make approximations of one-syllable words, with effort. People usually do not understand her, and she does not find speech to be worth it.
    • Buddy, a boy from her special ed class, cannot talk but knows some sign language.
    • Margot, another kid from the class, sits in her wheelchair with her head tilted to the side, not talking.
  • Lupus in The Roman Mysteries is mute because he had his tongue torn out. Early in the series, he learns to write and starts using a tablet and stylus to communicate.
  • Jason from Rules communicates via word cards.
  • One member of the submarine crew from Sewer, Gas & Electric does not speak anything but Turkish, so has no lines except the name of his hometown, which he cries out ("Istanbul!") to show he is conducted an order. Except once when he is recovering from an at-sea collision, and groans "Constantinople..." instead.
  • Shtum: As a toddler, Ben's autistic son Jonah very sporadically said a handful of words like "bubble" and "door," and months later said his last ever word, "Peeeder."
  • In The Society of Sylphs, the autistic boy Eddie understands everything people say, but can't control his body movements well enough to talk. He loves reading books about weather, but everyone assumes he only likes looking at the pictures.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a few:
    • Ilyn Payne had his tongue torn out by the Mad King. After the revolution, he is given a job as the royal executioner by the new king. His gaunt appearance and total silence make him quite frightening, which is very proper for his job. The closest he has come to speaking is opening his mouth and making a clacking sound, which Jaime takes for a laugh.
    • Theon is given a mute squire, which he takes as an insult. The squire is bold and occasionally smirks at Theon's difficulties. Later, he manages to convey a complex message without the ability to speak or write.
    • At least some of Varys' "little birds" are tongueless but literate children who hide in the secret passages running through the Red Keep.
    • Victarion Greyjoy takes a tongueless woman as a concubine. He likes it because he can think aloud while she is around and she will not be able to tell anyone his secrets.
  • Benjy from The Sound and the Fury is severely mentally handicapped, to the point where he cannot speak at all. He doesn't even have a concept of time, so it would be impossible to understand him even if he were able to make coherent words.
  • In the Splat the Cat series of children's picture books by Rob Scotton, the titular cat's mouse friend, Seymour, just nods in response.
  • Nick Andros, in Stephen King's The Stand, was born deaf and mute. One version of the book explicitly says he was born without eardrums or vocal cords.
  • Legion from Tasakeru, who only communicates in sign and body language.
  • Tony's grandmother in Then Again, Maybe I Won't is unable to speak because she had her larynx removed due to throat cancer (despite being a non-smoker). She communicates nonverbally and through writing notes in Italian, which Tony's mother must translate for the rest of the family.
  • Madame Raquin in Thérèse Raquin. As her health deteriorates, leaving her with locked-in syndrome. Ironically, the worse she gets, the more she realizes what happened to her son.
  • The God-King Susebron from Warbreaker is this for most of the book. Though it is because his tongue's been cut out from near-birth to keep him from using the Breath. He is also initially unable to write except in a special code script he uses to communicate with his priests, though his wife teaches him how to write normally midway through the book. And then he gets his tongue healed when Lightsong gives up his Breath for him.
  • In Watchers of the Throne Aleya is, like all Sisters of Silence, sworn to never speak; she communicates with others through a Signed Language. She does speak once at the end of the first book at the start of her and Valerian's Last Stand. When she survives it, she goes back to muteness.
  • Wild Orchid: A subplot in Waiting for No One involves Martin Phoenix, a twelve-year-old with cerebral palsy, who mainly communicates through body language that only people close to him can understand. He has a Voice Output Communication Aid, but he doesn't use it as often as his family would like, and he screams a lot. Taylor guesses that he doesn't like to use his VOCA because it uses the voices of Luke and Alan, and Martin would rather sound like a twelve-year-old than a teenager or a grown man. She also guesses that Martin would scream less if he had a healthier outlet for his emotions, like swearing. Luke and Taylor recruit Sam, a neighbor boy about Martin's age, to record new words and phrases for the VOCA, including profanity. At first Alan is furious at Luke and Taylor for programming swear words into the device, but it turns out Taylor was right — Martin is a lot calmer and uses his VOCA more often.
  • In Worm, The Siberian pretends to be this until she talks to Bitch.
  • In The Young Diana, the scientist Dimitrius employs the mute servant Vasho who is the only person, besides Dimitrius and his test subject Diana, who has ever been allowed to see the device Dimitrius uses to create his youth serum. Vasho communicates with finger spelling, which most people don't understand, so there's no risk of him sharing Dimitrius's secrets.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Thing, the living hand from The Addams Family, has been known to communicate via Morse code or finger alphabet such as can be used by the deaf. It seems to be of equal intelligence with anyone else in the Quirky Household.
  • All About Me: Raj, thanks to his cerebral palsy, is incapable of speaking, although his thoughts are heard in a voiceover. Why he didn't simply use a letter board isn't revealed until Series 3, when it is revealed that he finds it frustrating, not helped by the fact that people keep second-guessing his words. He does get a communicator in Series 2 however, although he briefly reverts back to this when it is stolen in "Little Voice".
  • In The Boys (2019), both Kimiko and Black Noir are complete mutes, with the former being unable to speak after enduring atrocities that traumatized her and the latter suffering severe brain damage with his Healing Factor keeping him alive & functional but not being strong enough to fully undo the damage. The most we have gotten out of them is a couple of near-inaudible gasps when Kimiko tried to force herself to speak to Frenchie, and a few audible sobs from Black Noir when he learned the truth of the origin of his powers.
  • Breaking Bad: Hector Salamanca suffered a stroke in the past which left him almost completely paralyzed but still fully aware (he's only shown speaking in flashbacks and in prequel material). He mostly communicates by ringing a bell to answer simple yes-or-no questions, although his facial expressions still are readable and cue cards are sometimes used when other characters want him to answer more complicated questions.
  • Poncho in Funky Squad, the Australian spoof of 70's cop shows. The idea being that an actor with poor English skills was accidentally hired, so the creators had to think up the ridiculous plot device of Poncho being mute because he had been shot in the tongue.
  • Liam and Ryan McPoyle's sister Margaret from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia she is said to be mute, she responds to communication by licking her lips.
  • Lanny in Lizzie McGuire is a special case: No one can understand him except Matt... even over the phone (where apparently, he still is speechless). There is something about Matt's body, because Lizzie can understand him in the "Freaky Friday" Flip episode.
  • Private Rich spends most of the M*A*S*H episode "Point Of View" using gestures and handwriting to communicate because a serious throat injury has left him unable to speak. By the end of the episode, he has managed to say a few raspy words.
  • Cambot from Mystery Science Theater 3000 has only talked during the theme song's Robot Roll Call.
  • The brothers Darryl and Darryl in Newhart. Frequently played with, as when Dick answers the phone and hears only silence: "Hello... Hello? ...oh hi, Darryl." Subverted in the series finale when the brothers shout "QUIET!" at their constantly chattering wives.
  • Norma in Orange Is the New Black is entirely mute, only communicating through gestures, facial expressions and sighs. The one time she does speak is to sing a rousing rendition of "I Saw the Light" in the Season 1 finale, surprising all the other characters present.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): Tali in "The Camp" and "Promised Land", who is mute. She does manage to communicate her name by writing it though.
  • Lupus in Roman Mysteries. Unlike his counterpart in the novels, he has not had his tongue torn out (presumably so they do not have to worry about accidentally getting shots of the actor's tongue) but is mute from some trauma. It is explained in the episodes "The Dolphins of Laurentum", that Lupus is mute from the trauma of seeing his uncle kill his father.
  • Top Gear: The Stig qualifies, since he knows how to drive like hell, and use a credit card, but knows nothing about ducks. He also happens to be illegal in seventeen states. He can also apparently use a word processor if the tell-all book is anything to go by.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • The aptly named episode "The Silence" invokes this trope. Jamie Tennyson, an incessant chatterbox in a gentleman's club, drives the wealthy Colonel Taylor crazy with his prattle. The colonel suggests a wager: if Tennyson can stay silent for an entire year (during which time he will be watched non-stop), he will win $500,000 (no slight change in the 2010s, but an even bigger sum in the 1960s). Tennyson takes the bet and stays silent throughout the year, despite other club members and even Colonel Taylor asking him to call it off. Finally, exactly twelve months have passed — at which point Taylor confesses that he lost his fortune years ago, so he cannot pay; he never expected Tennyson to pull it off. Then comes the Cruel Twist Ending: Tennyson did not expect himself to do it, either... so he cut his vocal cords to ensure that he would win. The episode concludes with Jamie dramatically removing his scarf, revealing a thick scar across his neck.
    • Another aptly named episode, "Mute", centers around a girl unable to talk. Everybody initially believes it is because she is in shock after seeing her house burned down (with her parents) but later assume it is because she had never been taught how to speak. Really, she was trained to be psychic from birth, and held all her conversations with her parents (who were part of some strange cult) telepathically.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "A Matter of Minutes", the faceless workers who build every minute are unable to speak.
  • The mysterious aliens from UFO (1970) are never heard to speak, though they can communicate with traitors and those under their control. In a late episode, the UFO pilots are revealed to be human abductees under the control of an unseen alien intelligence.
  • In The X-Files episode "Humbug", the Conundrum (a geek, in the classical sense) does not speak at all until the end: "Prob'ly something I ate.".
  • "Motormouth" Lisa gets this in an episode of You Can't Do That on Television themed around letting the audience "vote" on the outcome of certain skits. After the audience "votes" for Lisa to lose her voice, she is unable to speak and can communicate only by writing notes. It ends when the kids realize that Lisa is to introduce the commercials — which she is unable to do if she cannot talk — and that without commercials, no one gets paid.
  • Traditionally, Zorro's assistant Bernardo, who pretends to be deaf as well to gather intelligence for his master. In the 1950s series, he's the sprightly, middle-aged Cute Mute comedy relief; in the 1990s series, he was retooled as an attractive teenage boy named Felipe, whose tragic backstory (his mutism is explained as the result of a traumatic accident as a toddler that also left him an orphan) was played for all possible Wangst.


    Myths & Religion 
  • There are exceptions, but the default premise is that Golems cannot talk. This is because in Aramaic and Hebrew, the words "soul" and "speech" are intricately connected and since a golem doesn't have a soul, as a consequence it doesn't have a voice.

  • Olivia from Roll to Breathe is mute, although she is surprisingly literate for a little girl.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Molly from The Big Comfy Couch. Definitely fits this trope because she is a doll. She can, however, communicate through cartoon speech bubbles, as well as nod or shake her head to yes-no questions.
  • Although her parents Mr. and Mrs. C can talk, Chica from The Chica Show and The Sunny Side Up Show only communicates through squeaking, so she definitely fits this trope.
  • Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons: Yeh Hsiao-chai, by virtue of cutting out his own tongue as part of his trying to understand how "the sound of a single hand clapping" and gaining the martial art of nothingnes.
  • There are some speechless characters on Sesame Street:
    • The Honkers, cute furry monsters of diverse colors that don't speak, but communicate (and make music) by using their nose to honk the horns on their head.
    • Linda (portrayed by deaf actor Linda Bove) doesn't speak at all because she is deaf, but she can communicate by using sign-language.
    • Sully (portrayed by Richard Hunt) is Biff's silent friend and partner in hard construction work. Sully also does well at playing the piano.
  • M'Goats from Sprout Control Room.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Ivan has a genetic condition that interferes with the neurons in the speech-producing area of his brain, making speech difficult for him. He compensates by either Talking with Signs or using ASL.
    • Jessica is capable of using her Compelling Voice to command others to temporarily shut up, which she does to Michal when he annoys her and the school nurse after she's inflicted with severe burns and is rather justifiably screaming about it. Zia's telepathy allows her a peek into Michal's mind during this time, which reveals that he wants to speak but finds himself physically unable to.
    • Katheryn's power transformed her into a sentient mass of ink. As she no longer has vocal cords, she can't speak and instead communicates by forming her ink into words.
    • Ziz, a drone created by Ivy, is incapable of verbal speech, and instead communicates by projecting words onto any available surface.
  • In Dino Attack RPG, the Brickspider Bot was not originally programmed with speech. It learned how to program itself with speech by studying the remains of PBB, but it only programmed one of its heads with speech, so when that head was destroyed by Rex, the Brickspider Bot was forced to use a replacement head that did not have speech programming. As such, it could only communicate by hooking itself up to Cyber-Bully and speaking through his mouth, or by tapping its foot in Morse code.
  • Ace, the mask-wearing Implacable Man of Ruby Quest, never utters a word. When we eventually see him without his mask, it becomes clear why: he no longer has anything even remotely resembling facial features.
  • You Have Become Your Avatar: Heartless Sora Brahian can't speak because this form couldn't speak in the Kingdom Hearts canon, until the Grief Seed is used on him, turning him into Roxas Brahian.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The "Cannot Speak" disadvantage in GURPS turns your character into this. Interestingly you can combine it with the Voice advantage, just because you can't form words doesn't mean the sounds can't please.
  • Many of the villains in Sentinels of the Multiverse are at least somewhat talkative, and several, most notably Ermine, won't shut up. Progeny, on the other hand, is utterly silent: its flavour text is mostly other people talking about it, and unlike every other villain in the digital version, it doesn't get any dialogue on the starting screen, not even against its nemesis, KNYFE.
  • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar the elite Tzaangor known as Skyfires are utterly silent, barred from speech by Tzeentch, the Chaos God of magic, as the price for seeing the future.

  • Susan the Silent in Finian's Rainbow, who communicated through interpretive dance.
  • Gymnasia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A Speechless hailing from an entire "Island of Silent Women", Love Interest to the incompetent Pseudolus. However, being Gymnasia in many productions a tall, leatherclad amazon, busty and with a definite dominatrix streak in her, muteness may not be their best, or more defining trait.
  • In the opera Life With An Idiot by Alfred Schnittke, the Idiot can only utter a single sound "Ech", but he does so with much expressive flair.
  • Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.
  • Kattrin Haupt in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. Her mother is inconsistent on whether she was born mute or whether she was traumatised into silence (or, from the way it's hinted at, possibly had an injury to her mouth) as a small child. Goes beyond Cute Mute into an outright Woobie.
  • King Sextimus in Once Upon a Mattress cannot speak due to an ancient curse. He is highly capable in mime, which even allows him to take part in a few musical numbers. Towards the end, the curse is broken and he regains his speech.

    Video Games 
  • Adiboo: Magical Playland: Pup the Dog, Buzzy Galump, and the smiling tree never speak.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Noni, one of the major characters in the Mysterious Console DLC is introduced as being unable to speak and can only communicate by Talking with Signs. At the end of the last level, it's explained the reason she can't talk is because she's a digital copy of the actual Noni who died years ago, and her parents were killed before they could give her the ability to speak.
  • In APICO, Bobbee is hard of hearing, so they only gesture to you when you talk to them.
  • Neaki of Avalon Code can only make choking noises and gasps, due to the fact that the magical shackle that binds her powers is clamped around her neck. After it's removed, she can speak normally.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2: Copen's sister, Mythl, was mute from an incredibly early age as a result of a life-saving operation that separated the Lumen Septima out of her and only communicates via text. After she re-merges with Lumen, she becomes able to speak.
  • BioShock 2:
    • Subject Delta is incapable of speaking thanks to the operation that turned him into a Big Daddy.
    • Due to the same operation, Subject Sigma from the Minerva's Den DLC is also a mute.
  • The protagonist of Card Shark is a mute who primarily communicates via facial expressions who goes from a wine boy at a countryside tavern to a hotshot gambler who has cheated his way into Parisian high society.
  • The Black Titan from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, stalwart and dependable companion of Claudia, the resident Cute Mute. Originally described as an animated soul of armor, crafted for Claudia's safety by her long dead parents, he's revealed to be the corpse and the soul of a mute assassin, used for spare parts by Claudia's dad and seeking redemption by protecting his innocent ward. Also, being mute he came to empathize with Claudia's handicap, to the point of feeling unconditional love for her.
  • Alex from Code 7 is revealed to be this. They instead communicate with other characters by using lights, text on computer screens and similar.
  • Dead Cells: The Beheaded only has lines when alone and interacting with items in the game world, with all actual conversation handled with very exaggerated gestures. Eventually the Collector confirms that the Beheaded cannot speak, meaning the lines when alone are, by inference, their internal monologue. Given that the Beheaded is a blob of vaguely icky stuff sitting on the neck of a decapitated body, hence the name, it is perhaps not surprising that they have trouble speaking.
  • In Death Stranding, MULEs and terrorists are only capable of communicating via grunting. Same goes for the friendly porter NPCs, though they can also convey simple messages by projecting holograms with their walking sticks.
  • Digimon Survive:
    • The insectoid Digimon Kunemon is the only party member incapable of human speech and communicates with his partner Ryo through body language although other Digimon can understand him simply fine.
    • Syakomon's Mega form MarineAngemon ended up becoming this as well, requiring Dracmon to translate for her when she first transforms.
  • After the first level of Drakengard, the protagonist, Caim, is one of these, as he trades away his ability to speak in order to make a Pact with the dragon.
  • Christine in Fallout: New Vegas: Dead Money is mute due to having her vocal cords cut by a malfunctioning Auto Doc, and is also brain-damaged and unable to read or write. She regains her voice near the end of the DLC. We hear her actual voice, before the auto-doc repaired hers to sound like pre-War star Vera Keyes, in Old World Blues through a series of Holotapes.
  • Fate Series:
    • This was originally suggested to be a trait common to all of The Berserker-class Servants since their insanity has robbed them of their ability to speak. The Berserker of Fate/Zero (Sir Lancelot) also cannot speak and only vocalizes screams and growls. The one in Fate/stay night, Herakles, growls and roars a lot, but never talks. In fact, he's quite talkative after you kill him. In Fate/EXTRA, Lu Bu Fengxian likewise cannot speak. Fate/Grand Order did away with this convention, since a character who cannot speak is a very boring one to write for, and most of the Berserkers featured in it can speak, aside from those mentioned above.
    • Avenger of Shinjuku does not speak at all which is justified as it's the Headless Horseman who lacks a head to communicate verbally with and his partner is a wolf who has no means of speaking, magical or otherwise.
  • Final Fantasy VIII:
    • Ward is one of these after a throat injury. After that, he only says ".....", but Laguna and Kiros usually understand him anyway.
    • Also all Moombas, who are intelligent creatures, being an evolved form of the Shumi. According to the Shumi Elder, Laguna once tried to teach one to speak because he felt sorry that it didn't know any words and he felt that words are "useful and precious." The Elder, however, felt that the tremendously important things can be communicated without words.
  • The protagonist of Hollow Knight, like almost all others of its kind, is this by the design of the Pale King. (The exception is Hornet, which may have to do with her mixed parentage, being born of a tryst with Herrah the Beast.) While the game's art style rarely depicts characters with mouths, it's probable that in the protagonist's case this isn't just stylistic.
  • Jak in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was mute for the entire gamenote . His first instance of speech actually occurred at the beginning of the Darker and Edgier sequel and was a proclamation that he was going to kill someone. He spoke in full coherent sentences after that. Jak's younger self never vocalizes either. A fanon theory is that he lost his ability to speak due to the trauma of being separated from his actual family; Jak's utter hatred for the Baron simply let him overcome this mental block.
  • Shizune from Katawa Shoujo is deaf and mute, and as such, communicates entirely through Japanese Sign Language. This causes her to have difficulties properly communicating with others, and the aggressive personality she has cultivated to compensate doesn't help matters, often ending up driving people away.
  • Knights of Ambrose: Abbie is a Silent Protagonist in Mari and the Black Tower, and she still has no lines in Finding Light, where it's revealed she's mute.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, this is what happens to Valimar after Rean lost control of himself at the climax of Cold Steel III. He can still obey commands and show up whenever Rean summons him but he's unable to talk due to the curse's influence unless there's a high mana density around or after Lianne purifies him before she disappears for good.
  • In most games of The Legend of Zelda series, Link is a standard Heroic Mime. He does talk to other characters; the player just doesn't get to hear it. Not so in Hyrule Warriors, where it would seem that Link is actually mute: he's never shown to speak at all, and all of his "dialogue" is provided by his Fairy Companion Proxi.
    • Breath of the Wild gives us Zelda's diary, which describes Link as someone she at first thinks is being deliberately cold towards her, but later she finds that he's more The Stoic due the burden of being The Hero. "When I finally got around to asking why he's so quiet all the time, I could tell it was difficult for him to say. But he did. With so much at stake, and so many eyes upon him, he feels it necessary to stay strong and to silently bear any burden." However, many fans — enough for this to become an increasingly common fanfic portrayal — latched onto the words "I could tell it was difficult for him to say" and believe (or at least add to their fanon) that Link is partially verbal, as a mental block he can overcome with those he is closest to (and then, with difficulty.)
  • In Metal: Hellsinger, the Unknown had her voice stolen from the forces of Hell, becoming this trope and kick starting the quest to take it back, one demon at the time.
  • Mio from One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e is a mute who communicates through writing in a sketchbook.
  • Chell from Portal may be one. At the beginning of the second game, she responds to Wheatley's request to speak by jumping and GLaDOS refers to her as a mute. Also, while in the first game a non-fatal injury could result in Chell grunting in pain, Chell is completely silent in the second game. This may imply that while her silence in the first game was a result of her tenacity, her lack of speech in the second game may be a result of her extended stay in the Extended Relaxation Vault. Or, as hinted by her psych profile where she refused to answer any questions during her pre-testing interviews, she's in an extended sulk and refuses to dignify any of the AI with a response.
  • Although most midbosses in Touhou Project do not have dialogue, only Lily White has become this in most fanworks, being either completely voiceless or only able to say "Haru desu yo!"note 
  • Wanted: Dead: Cortez is mute and can only communicate via sign language, which is conveniently translated to the viewer via subtitles.
  • Warframe: The Tenno themselves, probably. They have no mouths and no assigned voice actors. They have some way to communicate, as they can accept missions from their allies, but to what extent is unclear. In the comics, whenever they need to communicate they project a hologram of the Lotus, who speaks for them. The Operators, the children piloting the warframes, can speak and have assigned voice actors. However, it's not clear how often they bother to speak with anyone besides the Lotus and Ordis.
  • World's End Club: It's brought up a few times that Reycho has never talked at all and has always been mute. Due to being a remote-controlled robot, he finally speaks after gaining sentience during the ending.

    Web Animation 
  • Most of the cast of Adam Phillips' Brackenwood; only one, the Auld Sage, has ever actually spoken. Besides him, there's only three likely candidates we've been introduced to who even have the capacity: Bingbong, in whom nature compensated his great physical strength with the IQ of a pigeon, Lemonee Wee, who hasn't really had a lot of screen time (but may be the unidentified narrator of "Last of the Dashkin"), and Bitey, who Phillips assures us can talk, but doesn't because he spends most of his time around animals who can't talk back, and thus doesn't see the point.
  • In Eric Schwartz's animations, Flip the Frog (being based on a silent movie character) never speaks. That's doesn't matter though, because his girlfriend Clarisse has such acute hearing that she can hear him nod. On the phone!
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Because she's only a young baby (as for now), Brittnay Margeurite fits this trope.
  • Xochiquetzal in No Evil traded her voice away as part of a deal to save the world from the Black Ick. She communicates using sign language (useful given that her brother traded his hearing in the same incident) and works magic through a mandolin. She also has an extremely expressive face, which is used to full effect in, for example, "Welcome to Mictlan".
  • Although he rarely spoke before anyway, Maine of Red vs. Blue truly becomes The Speechless after being shot repeatedly in the throat. He can still make grunts and growls that others occasionally are able to interpret, but by and large he can only communicate by way of his AI, Sigma.
  • RWBY: Neo is unable to speak, communicating through silent gestures, text messages, and body language (including fighting), although she can make non-verbal sounds, such as grunting in pain or giggling. However, her status as this wasn't made explicit until Volume 6, wherein Cinder tries to make a deal with her and an irritated Neo (once they're done fighting) points to her throat. The canon novel RWBY: Roman Holiday reveals that she has had speech issues since birth, and her parents were extremely intolerant of it. The first person she ever met who was able to communicate with her was Roman Torchwick. While in the Ever After during Volume 9, her Semblance evolves to allow her to create clones that can speak. They act as her voice, reflecting her thoughts and feelings as she breaks down Ruby. While she relies most heavily on a clone of Roman to speak for her, she does also use the clones of people Ruby cared about but couldn't save (Pyrrha, Penny, and Ozpin), and former allies (Lionheart, Clover, and Ironwood). Once the Curious Cat possesses her, it's able to speak through her even though she naturally could not.
  • Melony from SMG4 started out as this. In her first appearances, she was an innanimate watermelon and therefore couldn't speak. Ultimately downplayed after "Mario's Mask of Madness, where she ends up gaining a humanoid body after the Fierce Deity Mask is put on her, to which she then becomes The Voiceless since she only makes various voice grunts.
  • Wuggums from Wendell & Wuggums only grunts and barks like a real dog.

  • Bina in All Night Laundry has this for a while due to trauma from a seizure.
  • Archipelago has, as an important character, a sentient book, the Listing of Names. Listy can't speak vocally (maybe rustle) but manages with shapeshifting. In the ultimate battle Knull is made speechless by a throat injury.
  • Bob and George: Nate.
  • Mimes as a species in Cirque Royale cannot talk verbally; their "vocal" communication is actually done telepathically and only able to be heard naturally by mimes. Communication with other species is done with sign language. Kingston can (as can his children) as they're biracial, but they also "speak" in mime. When Kingston suffers flashbacks remembering his parents' deaths on the twenty-year anniversary, he wears himself out so badly he can't speak, and has to initially sign to his wife Quinn until she can put in her Blackfish earpiece translator (which she has because of him and the children).
  • Claudia in Crossed Claws is a mute mouse who helps out in the library. Her silence is particularly an asset as it helps her keep the libraries deepest secrets out of the paws of those that wish to destroy the knowledge it holds.
  • Mutemaster is this in Cucumber Quest, highlighting how he is a foil to Noisemaster.
  • Dawn in Dawn of Time seems perfectly capable of understanding human speech, but only ever speaks in her own language, which nobody else understands. In recent strips, the Grim Reaper and his associates never speak verbally either.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Tedd was so quiet as a young child that his cousin, Nanase, thought he was mute.
  • The Mutali in Fite! cannot speak, but they can summon portals by howling.
  • In the Gifts of Wandering Ice Ren, father of Rita, Nikt and Rikter is a mute shaman who uses magic string to "talk" by the way of signs like that.
  • Punch from Girl Genius is this. Though no longer, thanks to Gil. In fact, now that he can speak his prose is quite wordy... and nonstop.
  • Melody from Girls with Slingshots is deaf and communicates by sign language. It's recently been revealed that she can be EXTREMELY vocal when, ahem, "suitably aroused" and has also been known to make inarticulate sounds for emphasis in conversation.
  • Carapacians in Homestuck only seem to be able to speak in ways that show up in-comic when using a keyboard. Fefetasprite has only been seen communicating through emoticons. Kurloz Makara is a subversion. Though he can't speak though his mouth, since it's sewn shut, he can shout directly into peoples' minds.
  • The voice of the main character from Invincea and the Warriors from Hell was stolen from her in her infancy, and she cannot make any sounds with her mouth whatsoever, even blowing a whistle is impossible for her.
    • Galavant had his tongue cut out by Hadinn, and so he has also been rendered incapable of speech. Naturally, he and Invincea get along well.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Devils can ascend through five levels of power, gaining new bodies, greater abilities, and an assorted colour of Mask as they do. Pale Devils are the lowest rank and are unable to speak.
  • Rose from Latchkey Kingdom is a Shadow with No Mouth. She can only make unintelligible noises that are represented by uneven, scratchy vertical lines, so she communicates by writing.
  • The title character of Little Dee is pre-verbal and only utters nonsense syllables, such as "Eee" when excited and "Wah wah" when imitating speech. Dee does speak in Vachel's dream (where she's actually Napoleon's wife Josephine) and in out-of-continuity strips where she's an actor playing herself.
  • Mocha of Milk And Mocha is never shown speaking directly, often resorting to a whiteboard, body language or a tablet to talk to their partner, Milk (who can talk and is considerably more energetic, to boot). The creators have confirmed that Mocha is mute, but whether this is by choice or not is unknown.
  • In The Non-Adventures of Wonderella the titular hero (a pastiche of Wonder Woman) sells her voice to an Ursula rip-off for being granted her long awaited flight powers. After a brief stint as a Silent Snarker she gets her voice restored (and her newfound powers forcibly removed) because of her apparently awful singing voice.
  • The Protagonist in Persona 3 FTW almost never has any spoken dialogue due to the fact that he was something of a Heroic Mime in Persona 3.
  • In Rusty and Co., the Gelatinous Cube.
  • Strays Feral. With scars on his throat to prove it.
  • Suitor Armor: Modeus is a suit of Animated Armor that has no means to speak (at first.) He gradually begins halting talking around Lucia, the girl he is protecting, although the other characters are mystified about how he's able to do it.
  • Coffinshaker from What's Shakin' and Coffin Comics never speaks.

    Web Original 
  • This portrayal of "Speak No Evil". To elaborate a bit more, she's had her vocal cords removed (as opposed to her mouth being covered), as the bleeding stitches on her neck would show.
  • Because she's supposed to be a baby, Sunflower (generally called "Sunnie") is implied to be this, as her blog has the photo captions are italicized and sans quotation marks (implying that they're her thoughts).
  • Gold Tongues has Petrol, a biker who never speaks and only communicates with hand gestures and grunts. Judging by his maimed face, it's implied his vocal cords may also have been damaged at some point.
  • Taerel Setting: The Ja Anarath Kin'toni Clan are a clan that swear a vow of silence by cutting out their own tongues.
  • Whateley Universe: A number of mutants lose their ability to speak when they manifest, either because of Power Incontinence (similar to the Marvel Comics character Black Bolt, listed above), or changes in their body structure. Most of them do learn to communicate through sign language, however.
    • Razorback is perhaps the most notable of these; his velociraptor-esque body lacks vocal cords. When Jack manifested, it was assuming he was some sort of monster-like animal; he was attacked by people who didn't know he was actually was the missing girl whom they thought he'd eaten, so he hid out in the Australian outback for a year before someone figured it out and taught him Auslannote . This also figured into his status as an Ultraviolent during his first year at Whateley, as the only one who understood the combination of Auslan and ASLnote  he was using was his roommate Jericho, so he wasn't able to warn people when he was about to go berserk. Later, Jericho develops a voder for him to use, but he still prefers sign as the devise's electronic voice is irritating to him.
    • There is also at least one side character (the minor supervillainess White Diamond) who lost use of her vocal cords as a side effect of her mutation and communicates through ASL and writing.
    • Some of the characters do eventually regain their ability to speak, at least partially. Froggy, for example, had a terribly similar situation to Razorback's, and had to learn how to use his new voice; ironically, he now speaks with a mellifluous and cultured manner ("I decided I might as well get it right this time") that is in contrast to his hulking, amphibious appearance. It was an In-Universe Heartwarming Moment when Screech (who has the same Super-Scream powers and problems as the aforementioned Black Bolt) managed to learn how to control her voice enough to speak a little.

    Western Animation 
  • William from The Amazing World of Gumball can't speak because he's just an eyeball with wings. However, he was not initially aware of this, and thought people were just ignoring him.
  • Buttons from Animaniacs, however, this is justified, as he's a dog.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Combustion Man, who communicates only through grunts.
  • Professor Coldheart's transformed minions in Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings never speak. Either it's part of the transformation, or he's ordered all of them not to like he does Kevin ("Quiet, SLAVE!").
  • Chuck Jones did a few cartoons featuring Porky Pig and his pet cat Sylvester meeting scary menacing phenomena, which only the latter is aware of — but his most prominent trait, his big slobbery voice, is absent here and he can only try to describe the dangers in ineffectual pantomime to his blithely oblivious master.
  • Marci from DOTA: Dragon's Blood. She is cute enough to be a cute mute - until she shows her other skills. Simply being left in her company when captured is enough for Mirana to smugly declare "you never disarmed me". She's also remarkably convincing in debates for someone who can't speak.
  • Claw of the Mutates from Gargoyles was said to be so traumatized from the mutation that he became mute. He communicates through gestures and crude sign language, and it's not clearly known whether he's literate or not.
  • Snake-Eyes, of G.I. Joe, is incapable of speech due to injuries to his larynx. He spends the time another would use for talking to be extra badass.
  • Piff, a minor character from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, who first shows up almost completely emotionless, never uttering a single word. Mandy develops a crush on him and is embarrassed about it; after several attempts to get over him fail, Grim gives her a makeover, causing Piff to fall in love with her and speak his only line of dialogue: "Could you go to the dance with me? Please?". Upon hearing his high pitched voice Mandy gets over him and beats him up.
  • Kaeloo: The Grim Reaper, who the main four meet in Episode 92. Stumpy keeps trying to get him to talk, but he doesn't say anything.
  • In the cult BBC preschool show Kerwhizz the three teams each consist of a kid and their android pet. Pip, the android dog, is constantly frustrated by the fact that although he's smarter than his girl partner Ninki he can only bark and growl, which means she often does not realise when he gets the answer right and shouts out the wrong answer instead. Ninki got her comeuppance in one episode where their voices were temporarily swapped. This caused Pip to launch into a long speech about how his talents would at last be recognised, while Ninki could only howl in despair.
  • The Little Mermaid: The deaf mermaid Gabriella cannot speak and only communicates with sign language. Her octopus sidekick Ollie serves as her translator.
  • The fan named Playboy Penguin from two Looney Tunes shorts is one of these, at the end of his first appearance after Bugs Bunny decides to leave he whispers something to him and he finds out that they have longer days in Antarctica.
  • Maurice the purple gorilla from Marsupilami (the Disney series) does not speak, he only grunts.
  • Moose and Zee: Moose A. Moose's best friend Zee doesn't speak. Zee communicates to Moose through Squeaky Eyes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Fluttershy's grumpy rabbit Angel, though she understands him fluently. When she swaps bodies with him in "She Talks To Angel", the voices don't swap and she loses her ability to talk while Angel gains it. This causes a problem for her as when she tries to mime the situation to Twilight and Spike, they are unable to understand what she's talking about.
  • The Owl House: Eberwolf doesn't say a word throughout any of his appearances. The closest he gets is grunting to the negative when sniffing the captured BATT members for the turncoat.
  • In the various Peanuts Animated Adaptations, Snoopy is depicted this way as opposed to using the comic strip's Thought Bubble Speech, because Charles Schultz thought it wouldn't translate well to television. Contrast with Garfield, who tends to keep that trait in his own cartoons.
  • Pet Alien: Scruffy is the only one of the aliens who can't talk; he only growls or whimpers, and there are even many episodes where he doesn't make any noise at all.
  • Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb, though he can make a weird sort of chittering sound (and once even sarcastically mimics Candace in it). Oddly, he can't even talk when he switches bodies with Candace, though she can, and Phineas and Ferb's animal translator registered his noises as meaningless.
  • The Chairman from The Ghost and Molly McGee is mostly silent, since he only speaks in grunts, noises and thumb gestures, he is probably incapable of speaking normally. This doesn't mean that he isn't a terrifying and sadist being.
  • The Pink Panther (not Inspector Clouseau, after whom the films were not named, but the actual Pink Panther cartoon). Except for two episodes: "Sink Pink" and "Pink Ice". Also, the character was voiced in the 1990s TV revival.
  • Sunspot from Ready Jet Go! can't talk, so he used sound effects to communicate.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Because she's a baby and can't talk, Maggie fits this trope. Especially in "future" episodes, where she is shown as a sullen teenager who still never says anything, because she is prevented or simply disappears off-screen as she is about to speak in a Running Gag. Which is kinda sad. Don't you know she has a beautiful singing voice? There are a few non-canon episodes (including several Halloween specials) where she does talk, usually in a deep, scary masculine voice. Other than that she has said two established words in the series: Daddy and Ja.
    • Spoofed in the episode "Stark Raving Dad", where one of the asylum inmates Homer meets is a large Native American man whom everyone calls "The Chief", because he supposedly never talks. Homer gives a friendly "Hey, Chief!" and he responds "Hello"; instantly he's surrounded by doctors with clipboards and explains that "Nobody ever tried opening up to me before." (The character is, of course, a play on the supposedly deaf/mute Chief Bromden from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)
  • Laconia from The Smurfs is a mute wood elf. She actually makes use of sign language. Later versions go back and forth on whether or not she is also deaf.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "I Was a Teenage Gary" when SpongeBob is morphed into a sponge-snail hybrid by the snail plasma, he loses the ability to talk and can only communicate through meowing like Gary.
  • Every character in Stoppit and Tidyup is only capable of making various noises unless you count the show's narrator as a character.
  • Teen Titans (2003): Kid Wykkyd appears to be mute, while Jericho certainly is. He can talk through those he owns, however. Played with when Jericho has Cinderblock and speaks through him... thus rousing instant suspicion, as Cinderblock never talks! (Interestingly, Jericho being able to speak through him means Cinderblock is physically capable of speech; until that moment in the next-to-last episode of the series, it had been assumed that a guy made of concrete probably just lacked vocal cords.)
  • Tom and Jerry, most of the time. According to Word of God (or possibly just Word of Dante), they could converse, but generally don't have anything to say to one another that would be any more meaningful than the slapstick violence they already visit upon one another.
  • In Transformers: Prime:
    • Bumblebee takes after his movie counterpart. However, he talks in electronic noises the other Autobots (and strangely, Raf Esquivel, The Smart Guy) can understand, making him also The Unintelligible.
    • Soundwave also doesn't speak in this series, though he can play back any sound he's heard (with the addition of the pretty vocoder effect that goes with the speech of other versions of Soundwave.) However, he doesn't use even this that often. Most notably, the episode where Ratchet and Wheeljack battle Soundwave for a Cybertronian artifact hidden on Earth. Being a silent scourge that just. Keeps. Coming! made him almost scary. It turns out he's more The Voiceless, as he can talk, he just chooses not to: Starscream mentions a "vow of silence" at one point. He does, however, get one single line, late in the show's run: "Soundwave: superior. Autobots: inferior."
      • Sequel Series Transformers: Robots in Disguise has him return in the final season, heavily redesigned and now speaking normally (presumably, clear communication with your minions so you can get out of an extradimensional limbo trumped the vow.) Interestingly, one battle scene has him mostly silent, and he continues to use his cables as Combat Tentacles, making sure that even if he looks and sounds different he still feels like the same character.
  • Torpid of the Morlocks from X-Men: Evolution.
  • Zorro: Generation Z: As expected, Bernardo is here and still mute. He's a Gadgeteer Genius responsible for Diego's gear, and has even stepped in to wear the Zorro suit when Diego and Zorro needed to be seen in the same place at the same time.

    Real Life 
  • Stephen Hawking, due to his ALS. He used text-to-speech technology to communicate with people.
  • Movie critic Roger Ebert of Ebert and Siskel / Ebert and Roper, lost his ability to speak after having surgery for treating oral cancer in 2009. From that point on, he would use text-to-speech technology, which he used until he died in 2013.
  • Neil Young's son Ben, owner of Ben's Coastside Farms organic egg company, was born with severe cerebral palsy and is spastic, quadriplegic and non-oral. He uses technology similar to Stephen Hawking's.
  • Anyone who is mute due to physiological or psychological conditions, obviously.


Maggie Simpson

Maggie sucking her pacifier.

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Main / TheSpeechless

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