Harold Pinter's Silence is a play about three lives that touch briefly. It explores the nature of man-woman relationships. The characters re-live the memories of an interconnected past and go back and forth in time to analyze their failed relationships.
Rumsey spurns Ellen and believes that he is content to be alone. A dejected Ellen retreats into her private world and is unable to reciprocate Bates' love. Her indifference makes Bates angry and resentful. The audience does not see any substantive communication between the characters, as they are lost in introspection and melancholia. In their reminiscences of hills, walks, and evenings spent together, neither man understands how he missed out on love, hope, and happiness. The characters use an ideal past as a consolation for an unhappy present. There is an enormous gulf of silence between what they desire and what they actually say.
Their love lives fail to converge and leave the audience with no hope of a possible development in their relationships.