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Extended Audio Sample Cymbeline Audiobook, by William Shakespeare Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,604 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Shakespeare Narrator: Claire Bloom, Boris Karloff Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2003 ISBN: 9780060743338
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A Shakespeare Society Production.

In ancient Britain during the reign of King Cymbeline, Imogen, daughter to the king, dares to fall in love with a talented young nobleman named Posthumus. But when the king discovers that the couple has secretly married, he banishes Posthumus, and the two lovers must struggle against the power of the king and other status-seeking members of the court to preserve their love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Contains] some fine songs and poetry.”

    Audiofile

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Smith | 2/9/2014

    " Why don't they read this one in high school? It is way more interesting the Romeo and Juliet or Julius Caesar. I think anyway. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Broodingferret | 2/5/2014

    " This was a fun diversion from school work. Not one of my favorite plays by the Bard, but well-done, regardless. I often find that Shakespeare's histories rely a bit too heavily on the deus ex machina of god(s)/fate/magic/whatever to wrap up their conflicts, as though historical occurrences, at the time of their commencement, had to have been preordained in order to have unfolded as they did. I realize this lends a mythic property to historical events, and that the whole "the universe always rights itself" thing was endemic to the Elizabethan mind (see The Elizabethan World View by E. M. W. Tillyard for a full treatment of the subject), but it gets a bit repetitive, at least from my vantage point in the 21st Century. The language of Cymbeline, however, as is the case in all of Shakespeare's plays that I've read, is beautifully rendered and more than makes up for any predictability of plot, so I certainly have no regrets in reading it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaydence | 1/25/2014

    " This play is not one of Shakespeare's best. It seems to have plot points from every other one of his plays thrown in. The story itself deals with murder, betrayal, kidnapping, war, and still it ends as a light-hearted play. It doesn't make any sense. Not to mention the title character is in and has very little to do with the play altogether. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann Canann | 1/22/2014

    " This had been my least favorite of the late romances. I had read it only once long ago before rereading it now in preparation for the wonderful S.F.Shakespeare Co.'s 2011 production. Taken as a melodramatic fairy-tale it is really quite fun. I do think it is better seen than read, just as the Bard intended. It is not the real prehistoric British King Cymbeline, who is the central character, but rather his delightful daughter, Innogen [sic]. It is here where we find the line, "The game is up." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kat | 1/16/2014

    " Prepping for Sunday in Topanga! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Prashansa | 1/16/2014

    " A nice one! It was much like As you like it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilee | 11/21/2013

    " Cymbeline is fairly easy to read, for Shakespeare. I thought the plot was a little choppy at times, the twists and turns not always making sense, and the last scene was crammed with resolutions to it all. That being said, I enjoyed reading it. I would like to see this one on stage. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donald Zepeda | 11/13/2013

    " You know, I usually think that Shakespeare is an overrated hack over-loved by 'educated' Westerners and white people, but if I remember right, I actually liked this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa (ladybug) | 11/12/2013

    " I guess I am going to have to read Shakespeare several times and possibly even see some plays, because I do not remember anything about the plot or the plays. :( "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Conrad | 11/7/2013

    " This play doesn't stick in the mind. I remember enjoying it, but what was it about? A general. He does some stuff. And then he does some other stuff, and his daughter is involved. And then it's over. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kit | 11/7/2013

    " Yeah, I thought this was great. Only the last scene reads a little long - harder to give all those plots closure when there's only one death! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 D | 9/23/2013

    " Started very well (such promise!); messier and messier toward the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Flowers | 5/23/2013

    " The source of my daughter's middle name, Imogen "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 3/31/2013

    " One of Shakespeare's later and lesser-known romances. Many intertwining plots, both personal and political, make it interesting. However, there were no strong characters that I found really likable, "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patty | 3/15/2013

    " not Shakespeare's finest... too much of everything made reading this play more tiring than entertaining! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloomous | 2/10/2013

    " Saw an amazing production in London back in 2007. Cymbeline is now one of my favorite Shakespearean texts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/2/2013

    " One of the last plays Shakespeare wrote, this acts as an overture of the other works by repeating classic, Shakespearian elements. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 1/25/2013

    " Not well known, but probably the most complex Shakespeare plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlin Costello | 11/5/2012

    " Imogen (jenny rumburger and mike young) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Wood | 10/27/2012

    " Given it's infrequent staging, it's surprisingly entertaining, both to read and see. Even though a small part of it is thought to have been written by someone other than Shakespeare, it deserves to be done more often. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lia Aprile | 10/6/2012

    " Auditioning for this and some others at Alabama Shakespeare...I was shocked I'd not yet read it...I love the role (Imogen), and was pretty wrapped up in the story, but it has one of those big war/battle sections that always loses my interest. I'm just a girl, I guess. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kl | 9/20/2012

    " I just re-read this. This time on audio. As with most Shakespeare, I really need to be using Cliff's Complete. I do enjoy this story though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jen | 11/6/2011

    " Sorry, Bill, but although your language use is as beautiful as usual, this play has too many silly plot twists for me to enjoy it as much as your better works. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leslie | 11/4/2011

    " boring. i really don't like the romances. too much weird deus-ex-machina shit and grand revelations. give me a regular old history/tragedy/comedy any day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloomous | 5/11/2011

    " Saw an amazing production in London back in 2007. Cymbeline is now one of my favorite Shakespearean texts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 4/28/2010

    " Excellent edition of a fascinating play, though I actually wish the introduction were longer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurele | 1/7/2010

    " This was strange chance
    A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys.


    For one who is able to temporarily suspend disbelief, this is a lovely romance by the Bard that, of course, ends in joy.

    The Arkangel audio is graced by the songs of a host of lovely ghosts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 12/27/2009

    " Given it's infrequent staging, it's surprisingly entertaining, both to read and see. Even though a small part of it is thought to have been written by someone other than Shakespeare, it deserves to be done more often. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 9/19/2009

    " Thanks Andrew! I think I underestimated this play. This one isn't as tightly plotted as some of the others, but certainly an entertaining read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rllk4 | 8/30/2009

    " Not well known, but probably the most complex Shakespeare plot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 8/14/2009

    " The source of my daughter's middle name, Imogen "

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About the Author
Author William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564–1616), English poet and dramatist of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean period, is the most widely known author in all of English literature and often considered the greatest. He was an active member of a theater company for at least twenty years, during which time he wrote many great plays. Plays were not prized as literature at the time, and Shakespeare was not widely read until the middle of the eighteenth century, when a great upsurge of interest in his works began that continues today.

About the Narrators

Claire Bloom, CBE, is an English film and stage actress, known for leading roles in plays such as Streetcar Named Desire, A Doll’s House, and Long Day’s Journey into Night, along with nearly sixty films and countless television roles, during a career spanning over six decades. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 Queen’s birthday honors for services to drama.

Boris Karloff (1887–1969), born William Henry Pratt in England, adopted the stage name of Boris Karloff when he joined a touring company in Canada. When he ended up short of cash in Hollywood, he secured acting work in silent films, beginning in 1920. He appeared in eighty films before his big break came in 1931 when cast as the monster in Universal Pictures’ production of Frankenstein. On Broadway, he appeared as the murderous Brewster brother in the hit Arsenic and Old Lace, and a decade later he enjoyed a long run in Peter Pan, perfectly cast as Captain Hook. He was an actor also known for his voice work. He was the biggest star to lend his voice to a sound effect: Universal added his anguished scream over the dead Ygor from Son of Frankenstein (1939) to its stock sound effects library and used it for subsequent films, including House of Frankenstein (1944) as the cry when Daniel the hunchback falls from the roof. He provided the voice of the Grinch in the original 1966 animated film version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and his voice was the basis for Tony the Tiger commercials by Kellogg’s. He also narrated many successful recordings of children’s stories. He won the AudioFile Earphones Award for his reading of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, praised for his eloquent locution and full repertoire of creature voices delivered in his “inimitable style” And Library Journal says the stories are “read to perfection by Boris Karloff.”