The Skin of Our Teeth Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thornton Wilder

First published: 1942

Genre: Play

Locale: Excelsior, New Jersey, and the boardwalk at Atlantic City

Plot: Phantasmagoric

Time: All human history

George Antrobus, a citizen of the world. He wants to believe in the goodness of humankind and the survival of the race, but often his faith is shaken. A kind and generous man, he insists that starving refugees from the cold then enveloping the world be admitted to the house and fed, whereas his practical wife does not want to take them in. A good provider, he obtains a boat so that he can save his family during the big flood. After the great war, he decides to try to live in peace with his vicious son Henry. Striving to regain his confidence in humankind, he takes comfort in his books, his home, and the good people of the world.

Mrs. Antrobus, George's wife. She is a typical middle-class mother who loves her family and willingly sacrifices herself to their needs. Her typically female responses enable her to hold her husband, survive catastrophes, and perpetuate the race. When she is about to lose George to Sabina, she takes advantage of the coming great flood to bring him back to duty and family. When the great war comes, she finds safety in the basement for herself, her daughter, and, most important of all, her new grandchild.

Gladys Antrobus, their daughter, a wholesome girl much like her mother. Content to remain within the security of the family circle, she survives the great flood. By hiding in the basement, she and her new baby survive the great war as well.

Henry Antrobus, formerly called Cain, the Antrobuses'son, a nonconformist. When he hits his brother with a stone and accidentally kills him, his parents change his name from Cain to Henry and thereafter make every effort to hide his past. In another fit of hate, he kills a neighbor with a stone. In the great war, his aggressive temperament enables him to rise from the rank of corporal to that of general.

Sabina, the maid in the Antrobus household. She is the former mistress of George, who had brought her back from the Sabine rape. She leaves the Antrobuses and, as Miss Lily-Sabina Fairweather, wins a beauty contest at Atlantic City, after which she tries unsuccessfully to win back George.

Moses, a judge, Homer, a blind beggar with a guitar, Miss E. Muse, Miss T. Muse, and Miss M. Muse, refugees from the killing cold who stop at the Antrobus house hoping to find food and warmth.

Categories: Characters