"By restoring to the discourse its hero's proper name, we are merely acting in accordance with the economic nature of the Name: in the novelistic regime (and elsewhere?), it is an instrument of exchange: it allows the substitution of a nominal unit for a collection of characterisitics by establishing an equivalent relationship between sign and sum: it is a book-keeping method in which, the price being equal, condensed merchandise is preferable to voluminous merchandise."
-from S/Z by Roland Barthes, pp 94-95
What does an author do with a name? In the opening prologue of I Pagliacci, the audience is comfronted with a variety of different identities all at once. The stage directions says:
(Tonio appears through the curtain, dressed as Taddeo in the style of the commedia dell'arte)
Just as the audience has yet to decide whether he is going to address us in the role of Tonio, or Taddeo, he surprises us by singing:
If I appear thus alone. I am the Prologue."
Here, it is very clear how he wishes to present himself to us-as the Prologue. As Barthes himself puts it, names have a 'economic nature'. The declaration: "I am the Prologue" sets the boundaries of the role he is about to play, the economy of meaning. At this very moment, he wants us to think of him only as The Prologue, and not Taddeo or Tonio, that for this point in time, he is The Prologue and no other self. This is how he wishes us, as the audience, or for someone reading the libretto of the opera, to relate to him. Hence, the idea of the name as a condensed merchandise.