Mathematics And Mathematics In T. David Auburn's Play Proof
David Auburn’s play Proof is a very important play in many respects. While it is essentially a human drama that deals with conflict, doubt, lack of trust, lack of self-belief, and how these things affect relationships, it also highlights some vital themes such as mathematics, genius and mental illness, in a way that no other play has done.
Examining the primary theme of mathematics and mathematics as a metaphor for life, by sheer action of using the rarefied field of mathematics as a backdrop David Auburn gives this play a deep purpose. It is not merely Art for the sake of Art, but rather Art as a spotlight that gives us a peek into the complex world of mathematics but from a human and relatable perspective. Of all the sciences, Mathematics …show more content…
Once again Proof is one of the few works that examines this space. Anecdotally we know of several mathematicians who were geniuses but also struggled with mental health issues. The most famous of these were John Nash, the Princeton based mathematician, who struggled with Schizophrenia and has been immortalized on film in A Beautiful Mind. Another well know mathematician was Srinivasa Ramanujan, arguably one of the greatest mathematicians of his time, who also struggled with mental health issues and passed away very young. Srinivasa Ramanujan was also a genius who made a great mark on the field of mathematics even though he had no formal training in Mathematics – similar to Catherine. Srinivasa Ramanujan too has been immortalized on film in The Man Who Knew …show more content…
David Auburn as an artist documents and describes the field of mathematics in a way that makes it more accessible to people and raises their awareness of progress and innovation in the field. Thus, as an artist he is not only a teacher but also a facilitator who raises topics of discussion but then allows people to engage with the art form, in this case the play, and come away with their own understanding and answers.
David Auburn also shines a light on the difficult subject of mental health. He exposes the vulnerabilities of the brightest people, portraying carefully their struggles with social adjustment, loneliness and isolation, while dealing with the incredible pressures of a field like mathematics. Through this portrayal, he has been able to raise awareness and initiate conversations, which hopefully goes a long way in changing the environment and providing better support to such people.
In conclusion, Art has purpose. Art is a catalyst that creates response and reaction by asking questions, raising awareness, and facilitating