The healthiest type of dramatic silence is that which
points to the spoken word -- the silences of Aeschylus, and even those characteristic of the Romantic theatre which are a function of the pace of the dialogue. From the deep shadows of a Re2brandt painting emerges in spiritual light
the human face, and on that we gaze, not on the darkness, mysterious and suggestive though it be.
We are forced to conclude, platitudinously, that in
life words are more important than silence. When the philosopher praises silence it is, or should be, because silence is the ideal medium for inner verbal activity, without which he achieves not truth but exquisite sensations. Dramatically, silence seldom does more than convey states of - feeling, and even then, as with the silent anagnorisis, it is by virtue of the preceding dialogue. Speech is the glory and wealth of mankind. If the coinage is so often debased,
it is the dramatist's task to mint new money which shall ring true and honour its face value. However man arrives at his truths, whether by reason or intuition, it is for the dramatist, working with words, to put those truths into words,
And if they are the right words, the audience will experience not only the truths but emotion and something of the artist's joy in creation. The business of the artist is not to reproduce sensations or even to suggest experience but to interpret life. Art is philosophic, not historical. Silence cannot interpret. It can only reproduce or suggest.
Accordingly, these experiments with the unexpressed
which we have been studying, must be of a limited value. But their value is real. They exploit a new source of dramatic material which, if subordinated to the proper medium, can enhance it. The exploitation of the unexpressed promotes skill in the use of the expressed, and the medium is re-examined and assessed. Language is purged of rhetoric, and serious dramatists are impelled to have a care with their
dialogue and see to its economy and significance.
Most of all, the mystery of silence and its potentialities impose themselves. What the poet Mallarmé divined in that enigmatic blank appears wraithlike to tantalize the dramatist. If he is a great dramatist he will not be content to reproduce silence and hint at its virtualities. He will respond to the challenge of silence and his chosen, intractable medium. He will make it his joyous task boldly
to grasp its secrets, transmute them into the strong but flexible materiel of the drama, and in this forni share his clear vision with the people.