Montiglio tells us, speaking of ancient Greek tragedy, "Silence often heralds a sudden, and sinister, transformation of one's being, such as the emergence of a pain that cannot be told but only cried out" (Silence, p. 224). Silence and cries represent an homology, rather than an opposition, because both signify the collapse of the logos (p. 225). (I can't help think that attention to the syntagmatics of silence and crying would tell us something more.) Silences, too, are heavy and physical, carried by the body that cries or that will cry. Greek audiences, Montiglio reasons, shared an interpretation of silences "as preludes to destructive outbreaks" (p. 220). Do these vocal outbursts genuinely fail to communicate anything whatsoever? How much space do we want to allow for the incommunicable? Is anything human lastingly unintelligible?
Two aspects of Cassandra's silence apply more generally to the tragic representation of silence. First, breaking silence does not mean making contact; on the contrary, the silent character moves from silence to an incomprehensible and solitary language. Second, silence gives way to a resonant and exuberant voice that overcompensates for its absence.