Here's a question. Who among Shakespeare's characters do you think *says* the least, but is still most crucial to the play? Hamlet, as we know, never shuts up. I'm looking for his opposite. Somebody who manages to say very little but still accomplish great things.
The Prince from Romeo and Juliet would be an example, although only technically -- he shows up to say "Look if there's any more violence in the streets somebody's going to be executed," and then later, when there's violence on the streets, he shows up to banish Romeo. Both important plot points. Technically he wraps the play up but I don't count that so much among the "action" bits.
I say "technically" because he's really a minor character who only shows up just to make these points. It's not like he's got much stage time.
Compare Cordelia, who disappears after her big opening scene for awhile, and then comes back strong at the end. But I don't know how her line count would compare with some others.
Ophelia certainly doesn't get to say much - but can we really count her in this list? Is she ever anything more than someone else's pawn?
I'm not sure if I'm getting across my premise. Trying to drum up some conversation, it's been quite here recently.