There are several different interpretations of David Auburn`s Proof. Some would argue that the play is about the hardships of mathematicians, genius mathematicians for this matter, in their quest to make significant contributions in the realm of mathematics. Some would argue that the play is about family relationship, or even professional rivalry. Nevertheless, this essay will argue that the play is about courage. It is about the courage of a woman who, despite of her worsening mental condition, discouragements, distrust, and doubts against her, have managed to create something so significant not only in mathematics but to all of humanity. This argument will be heretofore expounded and will be justified by quoting from the play itself.
Play Overview
The first act (Act 1) centers on the two sisters, Catherine and her older sister Claire. They have a disagreement in selling Robert`s house – their father`s house. This act reveals three important things: that Claire thinks her sister needs professional mental help, that Catherine disagree with this idea, and that Hal & Claire distrust or doubt`s Claire`s ability to come up with great ideas – even solutions to complex mathematical problems as manifested with the introduction of the “Proof.” The second act (Act 2) is composed of flashbacks and continuation of Act 1. The Flashbacks centers on two characters: Catherine and Robert. This act shows how his father was eager upon learning that Catherine want`s to pursue her studies, he was reluctant in the idea that she will move to a faraway school, however. Accordingly, Robert said, “You`d actually live in Evanston?” after hearing from Catherine that she would go to Northwestern. This act also shows how Catherine sees her intelligence as inferior to that of his father, nevertheless, she still hopes to do well in Northwestern. The rest of the second act revolves around the question, “Who wrote the Proof.”
Justifications for the argument
It well established in the play that Catherine is undergoing mental challenges similar to that of her late Father. This idea is manifested from the words of Claire, accordingly, “- if you wanted to, all I`m saying is, the doctors in New York and the people are the best, and they -.” Catherine acknowledged this in Act 2 when she agreed to move to New York with Claire. Due to her burgeoning mental condition, Claire and Hal hesitated to believe that Catherine, indeed, wrote the “Proof.” Nevertheless, by the last parts of Act 2, Claire is starting to have her confidence on her sister`s intellect, when she said to Hal, “I`m a currency analyst. It helps to be very quick with numbers. I am. I probably inherited about one one-thousandth of my father`s ability. It`s enough. Catherine got more. I`m not sure how much.” At the end of the act 2, both Catherine and Hal, were beginning to realize the genius of Catherine, hence the ending scene when Hal sits with Catherine to be though about the meaning of the “Proof.” Hal said, “I mean we have questions. Working on this [Proof] must have been amazing. I`d love just to hear you talk about some of it.” To this pleading the narrator of the play said, “A moment, Hal sits next to Catherine. Eventually she opens the book, turns the pages slowly, finding a section. She looks at him,” and says “Here.”
The play, indeed, inspires everyone to trust on the abilities of others, even if these individuals are suffering from adverse mental conditions, to contribute positively to the improvement of humanity. The play also inspires those with such challenges to never give up in pursuing their dreams.

Close Menu