Proof

by

David Auburn

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Proof Symbol Icon

Proof Quotes in Proof

The Proof quotes below all refer to the symbol of Proof. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Genius and Mental Instability Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of Proof published in 2001.
Act Two, Scene 2 Quotes

CLAIRE: […] You wrote this incredible thing and you didn’t tell anyone?

CATHERINE: I’m telling you both now. After I dropped out of school I had nothing to do. I was depressed, really depressed, but at a certain point I decided, Fuck it, I don’t need them. It’s just math, I can do it on my own. So I kept working here. I worked at night, after Dad had gone to sleep. It was hard but I did it. […]

CLAIRE: Catherine, I’m sorry but I just find this very hard to believe.

Related Characters: Claire (speaker), Catherine (speaker), Robert
Related Symbols: Proof
Page Number: 60-61
Explanation and Analysis:

HAL: I’ll tell them we’ve found something, something potentially major, we’re not sure about the authorship; I’ll sit done with them. We’ll go through the thing carefully […] and figure out exactly what we’ve got. It would only take a couple of days, probably, and then we’d have a lot more information. […]

CATHERINE: You can’t take it …] You don’t waste any time, do you? No hesitation. You can’t wait to show them your brilliant discovery.

HAL: I’m trying to determine what this is.

CATHERINE: I’m telling you what it is.

HAL: You don’t know!

CATHERINE: I wrote it.

Related Characters: Hal (speaker), Catherine (speaker)
Related Symbols: Proof
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

HAL: I’m a mathematician […] I know how hard it would be to come up with something like this. I mean it’s impossible. You’d have to be…you’d have to be your dad, basically. Your dad at the peak of his powers.

CATHERINE: I’m a mathematician too.

HAL: Not like your dad.

CATHERINE: Oh, he’s the only one who could have done this?

HAL: The only one I know.

Related Characters: Hal (speaker), Catherine (speaker), Robert
Related Symbols: Proof
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene 5 Quotes

HAL: […] Your dad dated everything. Even his most incoherent entries he dated. There are no dates in this.

CATHERINE: The handwriting—

HAL: —looks like your dad’s. Parents and children sometimes have similar handwriting, especially if they’ve spent a lot of time together.

Related Characters: Hal (speaker), Catherine (speaker), Robert
Related Symbols: Proof
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

HAL: Come on, Catherine. I’m trying to correct things.

CATHERINE: You can’t. Do you hear me?

You think you’ve figured something out? You run over here so pleased with yourself because you changed your mind. Now you’re certain. You’re so…sloppy. You don’t know anything. The book, the math, the dates, the writing, all that stuff you decided with your buddies, it’s just evidence. It doesn’t finish the job. It doesn’t prove anything.

HAL: Okay, what would?

CATHERINE: Nothing.

You should have trusted me.

Related Characters: Hal (speaker), Catherine (speaker)
Related Symbols: Proof
Page Number: 80-81
Explanation and Analysis:
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Proof Symbol Timeline in Proof

The timeline below shows where the symbol Proof appears in Proof. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One, Scene 4
Genius and Mental Instability Theme Icon
Hal announces that the notebook contains a very important proof, although he admits that he hasn’t checked it. In fact, the proof is so complex... (full context)
Act Two, Scene 2
Genius and Mental Instability Theme Icon
Family and Heredity Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
It’s the day after the party, right after Catherine announced that she wrote the proof. Hal is baffled, asking multiple times if she really wrote it. Claire asks Hal how... (full context)
Genius and Mental Instability Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
...and not her father’s, but Hal isn’t sure. Claire then asks Catherine to explain the proof without using the book, which Catherine angrily says is impossible—it’s extremely long, and she didn’t... (full context)
Sexism Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
Claire relents and tells Catherine to go over the proof with Hal. But Hal raises the possibility that Robert went over it with Catherine before... (full context)
Sexism Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
...discovery as his own. Hal denies this; he just wants to know more about the proof. When Catherine says that she can explain it to him now, Hal tells her that... (full context)
Act Two, Scene 3
Genius and Mental Instability Theme Icon
Family and Heredity Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
...he has more information. As Hal begins to leave, Claire asks him to explain the proof to her. Hal asks how much math she knows, and she responds that she, a... (full context)
Act Two, Scene 4
Genius and Mental Instability Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
Caretaking and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Robert refuses to go inside until they talk through the proof, so Catherine begins to read the notebook aloud. It’s just gibberish, a string of thoughts... (full context)
Act Two, Scene 5
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
...He’s relieved that Catherine is still there. Brandishing the notebook, he tells her that the proof is solid. He’s looked it over two times with multiple guys—both old and young. While... (full context)
Sexism Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
...that she’s leaving, he asks her to wait. Apathetic, she tells him to publish the proof, and that she doesn’t care if he publishes it under her father’s name, or even... (full context)
Family and Heredity Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
...could have read about the newer techniques. Hal admits that it’s possible, but that the proof—unlike Robert’s other notebooks—is undated. As for the handwriting, “Parents and children sometimes have similar handwriting,... (full context)
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
Hal says he would love to at least hear Catherine talk about writing the proof, but she says no and refuses to even take the notebook back. Hal asks her... (full context)
Genius and Mental Instability Theme Icon
Proof, Trust, and Credibility Theme Icon
As she traces her fingers over the book, Catherine tells Hal that writing the proof was like “connecting the dots.” She never worked on it with Robert, although sometimes she’d... (full context)