## Questions and Answers for Proof

Proof

### What is a major theme in the play Proof by David Auburn?

The two major themes in Proof by David Auburn are genius & madness and love & trust. The first, madness & genius, revolves around the comparison of Catherine and her father Robert with...

Proof

### In what year is the play Proof set?

The play "Proof" by David Auburn is not set in a specified time period. It is written to be situated firmly in the "present," but it is never clarified when that is. The play was penned in 2000,...

Proof

### What is the thesis of the play Proof by David Auburn?

The three dominant themes of Proof are that (1) genius is not suited to the mundane day-to-day world and may turn to madness under the pressures and performance of life. (2) Mathematics is provable...

Proof

### What was the inciting incident in the play Proof?

Think of an inciting incident as a kind of jumping off point for a narrative's plot. If you can identify the one moment, early on, that all the subsequent action stems from, you've found the...

Proof

### How does Auburn present the relationship between Catherine and Hal?

Hal and Catherine's relationship is fraught with mistrust and suspicion throughout much of David Auburn’s “Proof”. Though Hal is immediately romantically interested in Catherine, he also grows very...

Proof

### What do the notebooks symbolize in Proof by David Auburn?

Catherine thinks that her father’s notebooks are worthless and that nothing of value can be found within them. They're full of rambling, incoherent nonsense, the product of a once brilliant mind...

Proof

### In Act 1, scene 4, why did Claire sell the house and what would be the consequence if she didn't? Was it purely for...

I don't think Claire sells the house only for financial reasons. Claire and her boyfriend both have good jobs, so it isn't that she needs the money. Now that Robert has died, Claire feels...

Proof

### In Proof, is Claire really cold, calculating, and insensitive?

Claire is a practical woman who likes to take charge. She left to make a life for herself in New York, while Catherine had to quit school to stay home and care for her father. But, Claire did send...

Proof

### Has Catherine also inherited her father's mathematical genius, or has she just inherited his mental illness in Proof...

It is a difficult to grapple with Catherine's mental state and mental abilities throughout the play Proof. She clearly wrestles with some of the same demons that her father had, and she tries her...

Proof

### What is the theme of isolation in Proof by David Auburn? Find specific quotations supports the theme, and explain how...

In Act 1, Scene 1, Robert and Catherine are celebrating Catherine's birthday. It's late into the night, and Robert brings up the fact that Catherine should be celebrating with her friends. When her...

Proof

### What is the symbolism of the champagne bottle in the opening scene of Proof?

One way to see the bottle of champagne that Robert presents to Catherine is as a symbol of the proof that he gives her later in the play. At the beginning of the play, it is just after midnight,...

Proof

### What exactly is Claire's motive in Act II, Scene 3 of Proof?

In Act II, Scene 3 of Proof, Claire is acting out of genuine love and concern for Catherine. Her motive is to protect Catherine and to try to find answers about Robert's genius, a genius she...

Proof

### Proof opens with a dialogue between Robert and Catherine. What is the significance of this, in terms of theme, plot,...

The opening scene displays the tension between Robert and Catherine from the outset. The champagne he gives her isn't real champagne; she reminds him of a time that he opened a bottle in a bad way....

Proof

### What was the public reaction to the work?

The play won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001. It also won the Joseph Kesselring Prize, the Drama Desk Award, and the Tony Award for Best Play. Since you asked about the public reaction, rather than the...

Proof

### What about the appearance of Robert, who is already dead, in act 1, scene 1 of Proof? Is this Catherine's hallucination?

Robert has already died by the time the action of the play begins. But he makes a number of appearances throughout, all of them in flashbacks, as Catherine reflects on pivotal moments from their...