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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

What listeners say about King Lear

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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.

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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Excellent

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

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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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  • turbopro
  • 10-08-16

tragedy par excellence

one of Shakespeare's finest. the cast did a great job. I almost shed a tear. do good while you can while you breathe.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Theresa May
  • 19-11-20

Great way to “read” Shakespeare!

It always takes me a little while to fall into the rhythm of Shakespeare’s plays. With the audio book, I can listen for 15 minutes or so then restart from the beginning to take full advantage of Shakespeare’s words. The actors did a wonderful job and the man who played the King sounds like he could do voice over work for an anthropomorphized bear! A fitting voice for Lear! The recording sounded like it skipped a little in a couple of places but it wasn’t very distracting really.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Johnson
  • 16-11-18

heartfelt rendition pulls no punches

A profound performance on every level. Peacock at his best with an unforgettable and uncredited turn by David Tenant.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-11-19

Compelling performance

Fine dramatization, as good as BBC. I really appreciated the Lear voice. Some weird "blop-blop" music is arresting...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert Taylor
  • 30-05-21

Shakespeare’s Masterpiece

Many would say Hamlet, but I believe Lear to be Shakespeare’s greatest achievement.

King Lear done well is one of the most, if not the most, powerful pieces of drama ever written.

This is King Lear done very, very well.

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  • Ronnie
  • 01-04-21

entertaining

this was a play for anyone who was wondering what it was. but in Shakespearean fashion it was actually really well put together. personally I was not prepared to listen to a play but I was thoroughly entertained throughout. the Mad King and the conspiracy that was set up against him was very interesting to hear. The actress did a phenomenal job train the different characters. I'm actually interested in looking up this play in person one day so I could actually make the image come more to life

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  • Roderic Rinehart
  • 05-03-21

I realize I like one reader doing voices more than ensemble

After having listened to Romeo and Juliet done by Richard Armitage, I wrongly expected something similar. It was a good production, but for me personally, I would much rather have one reader doing all the voices.

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  • Yas
  • 27-11-20

Inspirational

Shakespeare always gives you more than you bargained for. The sisters personify the contrasting elements in life, just as Lear symbolizes life itself.

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  • Christa South
  • 14-11-20

A Tragedy of Love’s Trust

Good rendition of King Lear’s tragic need to have his ego fed by words, not trusting in just acts. As King Lear had everything, but also as king he lost everything, ending up the poorest of the poor, after the loss of his daughters.
Clear and well-spoken actors did a great job defining the roles.

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  • Ray r
  • 27-10-20

Difficult to follow

Great story, great performance, hard to follow due to it being a play. Often time you do not know whom is speaking