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Insanity Within A Family Essay

883 words - 4 pages

Insanity devastates individual lives and families every day. Throughout the play Proof by David Auburn, insanity can be witnessed as it progresses genetically throughout a family. Robert, the father, exhibits many signs and symptoms of being insane, and his daughter, Catherine, seems to be following in his footsteps. In this play, insanity can be traced genetically, which is proven in the characterization of Robert and is implied in the characterization of Catherine.
Robert is a mid-fifties mathematician who has spent his entire life writing mathematical proofs to further his career. His insanity begins to arise at an early age and continues until the day he dies. Throughout his life he ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, there is an extreme lack of evidence to support his sanity. There are several possible mental illnesses to explain Roberts’s insanity. His symptoms are noticed with patients who suffer from Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and Delirium. Robert’s mental illness also seems to be genetic because Catherine begins to show some of the same symptoms that Robert displayed.
Catherine, Robert’s daughter, is twenty- five and is a brilliant closet mathematician. Catherine is thought to have received Robert’s ability and love of mathematics; therefore, it is also assumed that she also inherited her father’s insanity. In the beginning of the play, Catherine and Robert are having a conversation which seems normal until Robert’s statement, “Well. Because I’m also dead” (1214) shocks the readers with the realization that Robert has passed away. This is the first example of Catherine being insane, but this could also be described as a coping mechanism for the grief that she is feeling. Catherine’s second display of insanity is shown in a scene with Hal when she calls the cops because he is stealing a notebook. She then proceeds to verbally and physically assault the officers when they arrive on the scene. This example could also be linked to the stress of her dad dying and the alcohol she had already drank that evening. After her dad’s death and funeral, Catherine slept all week. This could be a sign of mental illness, but the depression related to her dad’s death could also cause these actions. Catherine’s insanity is a matter of opinion that will vary from reader to reader. She does...

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