The “Skin of Our Teeth” is a play about the Antrobus family down through different ages from the time of the war. They survive many calamities such as ice ages, floods, and war. In each case, this family achieves survival only by the skin of their teeth. Thus, the play is a tribute to their indestructibility and a testament of faith in humanity. In the beginning of the play, an announcer, who sets up the scene and introduced the audience to the Antrobus family, opens the play.
This introduction is followed by the family’s maid, Sabrina; as the act continues, various characters came out. Each character in the scene has different characteristics. Mr. Antrobus is the kind of person who likes new inventions and wants his family members to be perfect. Mrs. Antrobus cares about her children very much. The son, Henry, is identified with Cain and by a mark on his forehead. The daughter, Gladys, is obnoxiously diligent at school. In act one, it is told that the family is in the Ice Age. Mr. Antrobus becomes depressed when Mrs. Anbrotus insists on reminding him of the reality of the ice was becoming worse and worse and his son are constant fighting with others. Luckily, he is soon rescued from this mood by his daughter’s performance at school and the intervention and support of the professor, doctor etc. The Antrobus family survives the Ice Age by the skin of their teeth. In act two, all seems to be going well as Mr. Antrobus is elected to be a President. He ends his speech with the two words-Enjoy Yourselves.
No doubt we can see that he proceeds to enjoy himself by flirting with the Miss Atlantic City. On the other hand, it also refers to a current issue, which is the affair of President Clinton with the former intern, Monica Lewinsky. At the end the scene, a flood comes. The Antrobus family was survives in this disaster also. In act three, the time line is the end of a war. The end of a war always gives people a hope. The newborn baby is fit to represent the new hope of everybody. Moreover, in the third act all the characters seem to change, not only themselves, but also in their relationships to the others characters. First of all, we can see that the newborn baby made the daughter, Gladys, become mature in act three. When we compare to her na ve character in act one, her character was extremely different. On the other hand, it seems that the external war is over, but the internal war, which is in the Anbrotus family, is not over yet. Compared to act one, the bad relationship between Henry and his father is more obvious. Since Henry has grown up, his attitude towards his father has changed. He is no more obeying his father and no more pleasing his father in act three. Their anger is brought out in the scene. We can even see that Mr. Anbrotus is trying to kill his own son. The bad relationship between father, Mr. Anbrotus, and his son, Henry, still exists. Neither father nor son wants to forgive each other. In contrary, the relationship between Sabrina and Mrs. Anbrotus becomes good. In act one, they were arguing with each other. In act one, Mrs. Anbrotus said that Sabrina was useless in the family, and she did nothing good to the family. Their relation between Mrs. Anbrotus and Sabrina was not good at all in the first act. However, their relationship turns good in act three obviously. They are hugging instead of fighting with each other.
No doubt the Anbrotus family survives by the skin of our teeth in three crises. The first crisis, the ice age, presents us with mankind against nature. In the second, it shows man’s struggles against moral nature. Third, we see the scene the war and the war between father and son. This is an example of man’s self-destructive instinct. In other words, we can say man is struggling against himself. Although this family goes through several big disasters, in each case, the whole family gets through the crises. Thus, it give us an idea of optimism when we are confronted by anything, and that is an idea that the director was trying to bring out in this play, “The Skin of Our Teeth”.