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King Lear cover art

King Lear

By: William Shakespeare
Narrated by: Trevor Peacock,Clive Merrison,full cast
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Summary

This shattering drama of isolation and loss is one of the greatest tragedies in world literature.

King Lear of Britain has three daughters: the hard-hearted Goneril and Regan, and the good and gentle Cordelia. He determines to divide his kingdom between them, giving the largest share to she who can say she loves him the best. Lear's tragic lack of judgment and self-knowledge is paralleled by the blindness of the loyal Gloucester who is persuaded to reject his virtuous son, Edgar, in favor of the villainous Edmund.

Lear is played by Trevor Peacock and Gloucester by Clive Merrison. Penny Downie is Goneril, Samantha Bond is Regan, and Julia Ford is Cordelia. Edgar is played by David Tennant, Edmund by Gerard Murphy, and the Fool by John Rogan.

Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks

Featured article: 50+ timeless Shakespeare quotes


Immerse yourself in these Shakespeare quotes to dive into the comedies and tragedies penned by the Bard of Avon. From knock-knock jokes to the wild goose chase, we owe many of our most-used and best-loved phrases to the talent of the Bard. His words are timeless in their direct wisdom, their witty humour, and their surprising applicability to modern life. We’ve collected some of our favourite William Shakespeare quotes for when you want to think about life’s big questions, wax poetic on the nature of love, or just need a good laugh.

What listeners say about King Lear

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  • Overall
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Heartbreaking

If you could sum up King Lear in three words, what would they be?

Humanity, godless, tragic

Who was your favorite character and why?

Edgar is one of the most difficult parts in the play, but David Tennant was very good.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The whole cast was good.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Bawled my eyes out at the end.

Any additional comments?

The play translated surprisingly easy to audio. I've seen it many times in the theatre.

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4 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Thoroughly convincing adaptation of Shakespeare's exploration of senile decline and corrupting power. The blinding of Gloucester was as shocking in sound as it is on stage. Distinct voices permit tracking of characters even for those who, unlike Shakespeare's devotees, might not be familiar with the play.

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1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

Very pleased with the rendition. All the characters well-articulated and dramatized, no difficulty following (and appreciating!) the whole.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good but technical problems

Great acting and loved being able to re-live the drama in audio format. Unfortunately the sound was constantly skipping despite my having deleted and downloaded a couple of times. It sounded like an old scratchy vinyl recording at times with the skipping tracks. Pity, took a lot of the enjoyment away.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KC
  • 24-02-23

A solid performance of the Folio edition of Lear

This performance of King Lear is sound. It useless the first folio edition rather than an edited together, longer, edition of the quarto and Folio. But no audio or film version is available of the longest version (as published by Arden).

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A Tragic Tale 😭😢😩💔

A wonderful story but very tragic a tale of deceit and betrayal it shows that wealth and power will turn you own family to plot against you and the Black Sheep who is mostly gentle and kind is the only one who speaks the truth thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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    5 out of 5 stars

IT HAS DAVID TENNANT IN IT

Why is that not on the cast list? He's absolutely brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this but the parts with Tennant lit up my ears. Some of the storm sounds were a bit... well, Dirk Maags would have done it differently. Otherwise excellent.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent performance

This is an excellent performance, the cast are all brilliant.
It is a harrowing and tragic story. It portrays a bleak world where justice, social order and kingship, all of which are strong values to Lear at the beginning of the play become undermined by the end. It offers no redemption or purpose and characters die without reason. It is a story of betrayal and eventually chaos and madness.

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The Best

Simply the best production and cast I've heard ever of a King Lear play. Lear not my most favourite of plays but I did enjoy this production and cast. Thoroughly recommend this version.

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Excellent, entertaining, engaging

I am studying King Lear and found it extremely useful to read the play along with listening to this audiobook. The excellent performances from the narrators helps to bring the characters to life. The dramatised aspects, such as being able to hear characters entering by horse, or the sound of swords clashing makes the story engaging, as if you were actually there watching the play. Very entertaining, and even humorous at times, despite being a tragedy.

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