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Download King Lear Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample King Lear 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 (81,783 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Shakespeare Narrator: A Full Cast Publisher: Author's Republic Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2016 ISBN: 9781518935794
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Audiences in England knew an ancient legend about an ancient king named Lear who, in his old age, decided to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. In preparation, he posed a question to each one, asking how much she loved him.

The two eldest daughters wanted to be sure to give the answers their father wanted. They proceeded to curry his favor by giving glowing, lavish words expressing their love and devotion to him. The youngest daughter, although she loved her father deeply, simply replied that she loved her father as a child should love its parent.

Her answer infuriated the king so much that he went into a rage and sent her into exile. He then divided his kingdom between his other daughters. It didn't take long for these two ungrateful daughters to begin treating him cruelly. He escaped to France, where his youngest daughter was now married to the King of France. She gathered an army, returned to England and defeated the sisters' forces. She promptly returned the throne to her father.

Shakespeare's audiences knew this story, so when he put on a dramatic production based on the old story, they attended to see how he would change it and let the story unfold.

In typical Shakespearean form, he borrowed much of the plot from the old legends, but his spin resulted in what most critics see as the most poetic of his tragedies. His King Lear was driven to madness by the evil deeds of his two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan. The drama becomes a study in man's inhumanity to man in the form of family dynamics and ingratitude of children. He also includes, as in all of his tragedies, an element that provides comic relief. In this case, it's the Fool who makes tart, focused jabs pointing out the King's foolish actions.

The result is an enormously rich, rewarding study of the struggle between Good and Evil.

William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright, was born in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon in England. He married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years his senior. They had three children, Susanna and twins Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet died as a young child.

Most of Shakespeare's life was spent in London, where he went to work early in the theatrical profession. He acted as well as wrote plays.

The best way to experience his many plays is, of course, is to see an actual production on stage. A second-best way is to listen to it in audiobook format. Listening enables one to follow the plot and to focus upon Shakespeare's use of language and its sounds to create a lasting effect upon the listener.

Among his many works are "Hamlet," "All's Well That Ends Well," "Much Ado about Nothing," "Macbeth," "Romeo and Juliet" and "Julius Caesar."

King Lear is widely held as the greatest of Shakespeare’s tragedies; to some, it is the greatest play ever written. King Lear abdicates the British throne, to divide his kingdom among his three daughters in proportion to their professed love of him. His plan misfires when Cordelia, his youngest and favourite daughter, refuses to flatter her father; she is disinherited and banished.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 2/11/2014

    " My second favorite Shakespearean tragedy after Hamlet. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jemeima | 1/28/2014

    " nuncle, nuncle, what makes us human? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julian Dean | 1/25/2014

    " An assault on age and custom. Touching, but not my favorite of the Bard's tragedies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandra Strange | 1/25/2014

    " I have trouble reading this one, since it ends up tragically for everyone in the play I really care about. It's a good play for discussion of people and their various blindnesses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caroline | 12/9/2013

    " Not my favorite of all the plays, but good enough. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt Athanasiou | 12/9/2013

    " Dreadful. Dreary. Devastating. A descent into madness. The absolute best and most powerful Shakespeare play I have ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalia | 12/4/2013

    " I listened to it on CD- I liked it a lot, but since tragedies aren't really my thing, I cannot give it a full five. However, if tragedies were my type of literature, I would have done it justice and given it five stars.... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mommy Farris | 10/28/2013

    " Not my favorite Shakespeare. A bit too serious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 9/16/2013

    " Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 H Wesselius | 8/30/2013

    " pride, hubris, intrigue and tragedy an other story by the bard "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 7/31/2013

    " I'm giving Lear 3 stars, not because it wasn't well written, but just because its too hard for me to get on board with a story that makes you feel so hopeless :( "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Addie | 7/20/2013

    " When I first got this book I wasn't too excited about it because it was for school, but after analyzing it and finding the irony throughout, I really enjoyed it. I am not a fan of Romeo and Juliet, yet after reading this I am much more impressed with Shakespeare. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 3/22/2013

    " Not my favorite Shakespeare play... :( "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Halys Hickman | 10/11/2012

    " I read this book while pregnant with my second daughter. I didn't know i was having a girl but when she was born I knew her name had to be Cordelia. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Josh Kennedy | 6/5/2012

    " i have taken turds that could write better than this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tory W | 6/4/2012

    " An interesting story of deceit, insanity, ingratitude. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne Ibay | 1/23/2012

    " Really? Her name is Goneril?? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vivian | 12/25/2011

    " Probably my favorite Shakespeare I've read so far. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aaron | 11/8/2011

    " King Lear is not one of my favorite William Shakespeare plays because I didn't fine the characters likeable. Also, weren't the pre-Roman Brits living in mud huts? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chesterton Reader | 11/2/2011

    "
    “But his flaw'd heart
    (Alack, too weak the conflict to support!)
    'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
    Burst smilingly.” ~King Lear

    "Let us observe a few moments of mourning that we cannot write like this."
    --Prof. F.


    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carey | 10/30/2011

    " Well considering I named my daughter Cordelia, tells anyone who wants to know how much I love this book. (She, of course, is relieved I didn't choose either of the other sisters!) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karly | 10/9/2011

    " King Lear is a play that should be performed to fully understand the effect of Lear's madness upon himself and other characters. I would give the film/ live performance four stars out of five. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Juliet | 10/6/2011

    " WOW. That was heart-wrenching and yet awesome and hilarious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 10/4/2011

    " This was probably the most enjoyable Shakespeare I had the pleasure in reading. A great story and a great character study. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caroline | 9/26/2011

    " Not my favorite of all the plays, but good enough. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 9/23/2011

    " Good student edition of a great play, and edited by the one of the best: Stephen Orgel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Naomi | 9/22/2011

    " Rating this as a resource text.
    Fantastic notes and explanations, good exemplar exam questions.
    Also, brilliant Shakespeare play as always. Damn sad though. "

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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.