Abstract

By naming the protagonist of The Skin of Our Teeth “George Antrobus,” Thornton Wilder alludes to numerous multicultural and multilingual contexts. Although critics have noted that “Antrobus” derives from the Greek anthrōpos, this article details additional associations, including the Second Choral Ode in Sophocles's Antigone and the riddle of the Sphinx. Anthrōpos is the Greek Septuagint term for Adam and the New Testament basis of the “Son of Man.” “Antrobus” further derives from andra, the first word of The Odyssey, reinforcing the identification of Antrobus as a sea wanderer and hero. Sabina's question “whether we're all living back in caves” has its etymological basis in the Latin antrum, “cave.” The name “George Antrobus” is a synthesis of genius, signaling the relevance of epic, tragedy, mythology, religious scripture, and history to The Skin of Our Teeth—with only two words.

You do not currently have access to this content.