4. The functioning of theatrical communication is particularly complex for the reason that these interpersonal
exchanges between characters are not the only ones at hand. The theatrical dialogue is twofold, being
articulated not only between speaker x and speaker y (or others still) but at the same time between all of
these roles and a second class of addressee, the spectator. Analysis must therefore take stock of the textual
marks of this hidden presence, the virtual addressee, both in such forms as the soliloquy or chorus and
within the actual dialogue.
From the initial point of view of writing, certain constraints are imposed by the theatrical form:
1. The writing of theatrical language is restricted to the present tense. Though the play itself may be in the past, the verbs must respect the system of the current day with respect to their writing: enunciation is both personal and current, which excludes, for example, the use of the preterite in modern French, such that anything written for current ears must be uttered by present tongues even if the act in question is of another time. Any instance in which this rule is not respected takes on meaning precisely in terms of the breach.
2. The crucial analysis is that of deixis, the net vector of all these empty signs which are so many shifts or clutches; these are the adverbs of time and place which locate the speech situation, demonstrative pronouns and articles indicating the rapport between persons and objects and, especially, the personal pronouns which set not only the relationships between the speakers, but between a given speaker and the world, in short the character's identity - with the play advancing and evolving these rapports. For example: the confidantes in neo-classical French theatre never say "I" - except the nurse Oenone in Racine's Phaedra, where it refers to a different aspect of the character.
3. A principle task for most theatrical writings is to determine the idiolect of the characters; it is indeed fascinating and difficult to establish which peculiarities of vocabulary and syntax characterise the individual language use of each subject. This task is a crossroads, then, of linguistics and stylistics. Thus the idiolect of Alceste in Molière's Misanthrope, which bears the marks of a certain archaism reflecting the character's bent toward some past era, also shows signs of aggressivity - swearwords, invectives and exclamations. The analysis of the idiolects penetrates the characters' individuality with more clarity and pertinence than any conjectural psychological reconstruction could offer.