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Proof Scene by David Auburn: Catherine Monologue


What can I say about myself? I am Catherine; I am a usual young girl. However, not so usual and not so young, in fact. What do you know about me? That I am a daughter of an extremely endowed father, a genius, a mathematical God. He is the dearest person for me though I have a sister she is too far from me, both in literal and figurative, spiritual sense. I think that you need some background information about my past as well to get to know the present situation better. I have sacrificed everything to help my dear father extend his rare periods of clarity of mind. However, four years have passed since my father had the last lucid period of his life. And here we meet each other, you, my dear viewer (reader) and me, Catherine, Robert’s poor daughter.

My twenty-fifth Birthday

The first time we meet, it is my birthday, the twenty-fifth birthday (this is why I have mentioned earlier I am not so young anymore). When you see me for the first time, I am “haphazardly dressed” (Auburn 1). This is certainly not the right way to look at your birthday. Still, my Birthday is very strange on the whole; I am sitting in a chair alone. Then comes my father and he greets us with my Birthday. It could have been normal but for the fact, that my father died last week. Now you can understand why I am not very happy about my Birthday. I am all alone in this world and I know the reason why.

In fact, there are several reasons and they are interconnected: I have sacrificed everything in order to make the life of my father at least a bit better as he was the unhappiest person in the world: he possesses a perfect brain of a mathematician but he was mentally ill at the same time and this spilled his life. Now you see that it is natural for every child to feel sorry for his/her parent. This is why I have abandoned my life for his sake when I left college in order to take care of him. But I did not doubt a moment, my father needed me and I knew what to do. You can observe my infinite love for my father and you can take my behavior as mourning for him but it is not only so.

The “gift” from my father

The fact that I find even more depressing than my father’s death is the gift that he presented me with. If you think that I am talking about the bottle of champagne presented for my Birthday, it is not so, everything was all right with that gift. The problem is that I believe that my father’s inheritance is harmful to me. I do not want to seem boastful but I am rather intelligent, I have mathematical skills just like my father’s. He himself says, “Don’t waste your talent” (Auburn 3). It could have been beneficial but I worry that I have inherited his madness along with the gift. I believe that the fact that I am talking to my deceased father is the perfect evidence of that. I have abandoned my education not only for my father’s sake; I was scared that good academic progress was the sign of my madness, so the best way was to abandon it before it was too late. One more thing was that maybe I just did not want to compete with the genius of my father, I was scared to fail as well as I was scared to win, I was in a deadlock.

The explanation of my behavior

So, I have no aim in my life, this is why my father says that I am lazy. I “sleep till noon, … eat junk … don’t work, the dishes pile up in the sink” (Auburn 4). I am depressed and there are two reasons for my depression, my father’s death and my father’s life, his genes are my curse. He was a genius; this is why he was evidently right when he said that even my depression was mathematical (Auburn 4). I remember that my Dad “went bughouse” at the age of twenty-four, so my time has come as well (Auburn 5). You can see this at the end of our talk; he says that talking to a dead relative can be a bad sign (Auburn 8).

My relationship with Clair

Other two people who a significant in my story, are my sister Clair and my father’s Ph.D. student, Hal. Let us start with Clair. She is my opposite, the first time you meet her even her appearance differs from mine a lot. She is “stylish, attractive” (Auburn 28). Our attitude towards our father also differs greatly: when I choose to be with him and to support him, Clair flies away delightfully and she does not even admit an idea that she can help us. In fact, she does not believe that I can help our father, she says that professional assistance could have brought him more benefit than my care. What is more, she thinks that I am just as mad as my father when she says “I think you have some of his talent and some of his tendency toward … instability” (Auburn 28). She wants to sell our house and she wants me to move to New York, she tries to impose her will on me, even when she asks me about coffee and I say that I want black, she pours milk in it (Auburn 15). However, I resist her as I know that she wants to dominate I will not let her do that.

My relationship with Hal

Speaking about Hal, I can say that our relations are very complex. In fact, he is one of the reasons why I claimed the authorship of the mathematical proof. I want to rehabilitate myself after my failures; I want to be independent now though once I used to be scared of that. I love Hal; maybe because he resembles my father, he is a mathematician as well. If you ask me about my motivation for giving him the proof, the answer will be that the key to the drawer was the key to my mind. For a person like me, the mind is more important than the heart, so I presented him with it. I was just tired of running away from own self and this is why I revealed the truth about my authorship of the proof. I wanted to prove my talent and I wanted to become equal with the person I loved, thus, reuniting with my father and admitting that his talent was part of my own self.


Drawing a conclusion, it may be stated “Proof” is the sense of my life, it is my way to success and it is my final goal, my proof of my gift. My life is full of love for my father, after his death it continues in the love for Hal. My relationship with Clair shows my moral strength. Finally, I achieve my aim, I overcome my fear and I become strong.

Works Cited

Auburn, David. Proof. USA: Dramatist Play Service, 2001.


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