Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
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...
(The entire section is 425 words.)
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The Announcer's voice narrates the slides and describes the "News Events of the World" at the beginning of Act I and Act II.
Mr. Antrobus is the father of not only a typical suburban American family but also the entire human race. The play's central character, he possesses the virtues and flaws of both the biblical Adam and the American Everyman. The inventor of the wheel and the alphabet, he "comes of very old stock and has made his way up from next to nothing." In Act I, he is the hardworking and innovative businessman who loves his family and values his books and must preserve them all from the approaching Ice Age. In Act II, he is the President of the Order of Mammals who is tempted to leave his wife for a beauty contest winner, but with the onslaught of catastrophic rains, he returns to his family and loads them—along with his potential mistress and two of every kind of animal—onto a ship that will withstand the coming flood. And finally in Act in, he returns to his family after a seven-year war, ready to unearth his books and rebuild civilization.
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, Gladys is constantly admonished to act like a lady, put down her dress, and not wear makeup or red stockings. Her mother reminds her that she should try to be as perfect as Mr. Antrobus thinks she is, and she does attempt to please her father by reciting lessons. But in...
(The entire section is 1457 words.)