Proof Test | Final Test - Hard

David Auburn
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Does Hal believe Catherine could have written the proof?

2. When Claire asks Catherine to recite the proof, how does Catherine reply?

3. Where is Robert sitting?

4. How much of Robert's ability does Claire think Catherine has inherited?

5. What is she paying for tuition?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do Robert's feelings differ between Catherine and Claire?

2. What decision has Catherine made about school?

3. How does Catherine get Hal to leave?

4. How does Catherine react when Claire and Hal do not believe her?

5. Is Robert upset that Catherine plans to leave? Why or why not?

6. Why is Robert so excited about working?

7. Describe Robert's demeanor throughout the scene.

8. Why is Claire worried about Catherine?

9. Why was Hal the first person to whom Catherine showed the proof?

10. Where has Catherine come from to check on Robert?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Hal and Robert are each afraid of getting old and losing their edge. They think mathematics is a young man's game, and very quickly a mathematician is past his prime.

1.) Could this idea have anything to do with Robert's illness? He works so hard to match his former genius, but cannot---could this be a contributing factor?

2.) Hal jokes that he has resigned himself to a teaching position. Do you think there is more it? Is Hal disappointed in his own lack of genius?

3.) Describe the lengths mathematicians go to in order to retain their edge, as described by Hal. How competitive is this field?

Essay Topic 2

In the play, there is a fine line between madness and genius; kindness and presumption. Discuss this fine line as it applies to:

1.) Robert.

2.) Catherine.

3.) Claire.

Essay Topic 3

Claire says that mathematician don't think: they just create catastrophes and expect other people to come in and clean them up.

1.) How is this true of Robert? Of Hal? Of Catherine?

2.) Does Claire feel she is cleaning up Hal's mess? Robert's mess?

3.) Does Claire feel that Robert should have been in professional care? How would this have changed events in the play?

(see the answer keys)

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