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The Winter's Tale [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

William Shakespeare , John Gielgud , Ciaran Hinds , Eileen Atkins , Arkangel Cast
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 30 2005 1932219390 978-1932219395 Unabridged Edition
King Leontes develops a paranoid delusion that another man has fathered his infant daughter. The child is taken to the wilderness and left to die. Leontes's cruelty has terrible consequences, but eventually life and hope are born out of desolation and despair. Performed by Sir John Gielgud, Ciaran Hinds, Eileen Atkins, and the Arkangel cast.

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One of Shakespeare's most haunting and enigmatic late plays, The Winter's Tale is a fine example of Shakespeare's fascination with the dramatic genre of "romance": the portrayal of magical lands, familial conflict and exile, and final reunion and reconciliation. Drawing on Robert Green's story Pandosto, Shakespeare play tells the story of the middle-aged Leontes, king of Sicilia, and his childhood friend Polixenes, the king of Bohemia. Leontes mistakenly believes that his friend is having an affair with his wife, Hermione. In his jealousy, and consumed by "tremor cordis", he tries to murder Polixenes, who flees, and accuses his wife of adultery. Hermione gives birth to a baby girl, Perdita, who Leontes denounces as illegitimate, and casts her out into the wilderness. Hermione is ultimately proved innocent, but her son, Mamillius, dies of grief. Hermione collapses, apparently dead, and Leontes is left to pick up the tragic consequences of his actions. Time passes, and the action moves to Bohemia, where the lost child Perdita has grown up a shepherdess in the midst of "great creating nature". The final scenes of the play draw towards resolution and reconciliation between Leontes, Hermione and their lost daughter, culminating in one of Shakespeare's most moving final scenes. One of Shakespeare's most consummate plays, The Winter's Tale is a fascinating study of male insecurity and the relations between art and nature. --Jerry Brotton. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

a valuable edition of 'The Winter's Tale'...His accounts of language and of motivation are particularly illuminating and level-headed. - The Review of English Studies, Vol. 49, No. 194, 1998.

`a valuable edition of The Winter's Tale ... this is a well-focused and helpful edition.' Paul Hammond, Review of English Studies --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Two courtiers exchange compliments, speaking in an elegant, formal prose. Read the first page
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forbid the sea for to obey the moon Aug. 25 2011
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"The Winter's Tale" is one of Shakespeare's most underrated works, probably because it can't be easily classified as a romance or a comedy. That's a shame, because this lush, emotionally-wrenching little play displays Shakespeare's powerful writing and fine grasp of human nature. It's just incredibly moving and exquisitely written.

Polixenes, the King of Bohemia, has been visiting his pal King Leontes in Sicilia, and eventually he wants to go home. But after Queen Hermione convinces him to stay awhile, Leontes suddenly goes nuts and decides that Polixenes and Hermione have been having an affair, and that her unborn child must be his old friend's. Polixenes flees back to his own land, and Hermione dies soon after her newborn daughter is abandoned in the wilderness.

Of course, Leontes soon finds out that he was off his gourd, and that poor Hermione was completely innocent. Charming, isn't he? Sixteen years later, Polixenes' son Florizel falls in love with a mysterious young shepherdess, who is actually Leontes' daughter Perdita (of course!). But with royal opposition to their marriage, the young couple must overcome many obstacles before everything is settled happily.

"A Winter's Tale" is a curious hybrid of Shakespeare's different theatrical "types" -- there's some gentle comedy, some mellow tragedy, and a hefty dose of romance. The first three acts are basically one long disaster, with Leontes' crazy paranoia destroying his friendships, marriage and children's lives, until it seems that there's no happy ending for anybody.

But the last few acts are very different. Shakespeare's writing takes on a more romantic, sweet tone, particularly when Florizel and Perdita are lavishing lovers' praise on each other ("My prettiest Perdita!
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5.0 out of 5 stars "A sad tale's best for winter" that ends in joy March 3 2010
By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
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(This review is for the talking book version of this play on compact disc by the "Complete Arkangel Shakespeare" and published by BBC Audiobooks America.)

"Too hot, too hot!
To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me,--my heart dances;
But not for joy,--not joy.--This entertainment
May a free face put on; derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent: `t may, I grant:
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are; and making practis'd smiles,
As in a looking glass; and then to sigh, as `twere
The mort o' the deer; O, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows."

The above is said as an aside by the King of Sicilia as he observes his Queen with his good friend (who he has known since childhood), the King of Bohemia. This is the occurrence that sparks the King of Sicilia's jealousy and forms the basis of this play (written circa 1611) by William Shakespeare (1564 to 1616).

(Note that this play is traditionally classified as a comedy but is more accurately known as a tragicomedy or romance.)

Having this play recorded on compact disc is a treat. This play (of five acts or fifteen scenes) is presented as uncut, fully dramatized, and accompanied by original music. This recording aids in comprehension by bringing the play to life using the voices of distinguished actors.

Included with the compact disc are liner notes that include among other things a complete cast list and a synopsis of each scene. What I did was before each scene, I paused the recording, read a particular scene's synopsis, and then listened to that scene.
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By Sara
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Then read this before you retire from Shakespeare! I read this in AP English after Hamlet, and I have to say that this was a surprise to me. The Winters Tale is refreshing compared to Shakespeare's earlier tragedy works. No one dies in this play except for one person instead of the entire cast.
This is mainly a love story with several different types of love affairs- Leontes and Hermoine, Leontes and Polizenes, Farid and Perdita... There is no single major character as this play is set up in two different time periods and each character mostly acts independently of each other.
As for the characterization in the play, readers can observe the classical Shakespearean characters (similar characteristics to the earlier plays) and newly personality designed characers. This mixed play reveals Shakespeare's transition from his original writings to his attempt to prove his audience that there is good in life.
I recommend this play for readers and interested literature majors because I have found this play to be widely used on college campuses and I can see why. Although we are done and we spent some time but I felt that this play deserves to be discussed in depth since there are many different elements to it. Even short plays can evolve into a course as well as long Russian style novels.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The high price of Jealousy Nov. 18 2003
Format:Paperback
Ask anyone to name a play by Shakespeare and it most likely will be Romeo and Juliet, or Hamlet, or Macbeth or even Othello. Rarely will you ever hear anyone say The Winter's tale, but is its lack of popularity due to it being any lesser than Shakespeare's other works? Unfortunately I would have to say yes.
The play is taken from Greene's Pandosto and follows it quite closely in most parts. The plot is fairly simple, Leontes, the King of Sicilia gets into a jealous rage over his what he believes is his wife's infidelity with his friend. This causes him to break off a close relationship with his childhood friend the King of Bohemia and his servant Camillo. He also banishes his daughter, and kills his wife and son by flouting Apollo's judgement that Hermione, his wife, is innocent.
The second part of the play is concerned with the reunion of his banished daughter and her newly acquired husband with Leontes. There is a surprise at the ending which I will not spoil for those who have not yet had the opportunity to read the play.
If you've read Othello, you will find similarities between Othello and Leontes and also between Desdemona and Hermione. The only major difference is that there is no Iago in this play; Leontes is his own Iago. Shakespeare in Othello develops the reasons for Othello's suspicion of Desdemona, unfortunately this is lacking in The Winter's Tale. There is not much of a motive and the reader (or audience) is asked to believe that Leontes develops his jealous rage over one minor incident and almost immediately.
Another problem I have with this play is with the surprise ending. Here again, there is not much of a clue as to how this happens, it is just assumed that we will accept it unquestioningly as fact.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Redemptive Tragedy
The Winter's Tale is a lot of things: heart-breaking, exhilerating, funny, beautiful, romantic, profound, etc. Yeah, it's all here. Read more
Published on May 27 2003 by Oddsfish
3.0 out of 5 stars the winters tale
a good read, but can be confusing for kids. It takes a while to comprehend all of the Shakespearian langauge, but is very interesting. It is boring at parts.
Published on May 20 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Time heals and reveals...
A sad romantic play about human behavior and emotions ...a merciless decision issued by the king Leontes against his wife Hermione and his boyhood friend Polixenes is the shocking... Read more
Published on July 29 2002 by rannoon
5.0 out of 5 stars The Terrible Costs of Jealous Rage
The Winter's Tale contains some of the most technically difficult solutions to telling a story that have ever appeared in a play. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2001 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy Boy's GREATEST Play!!!!!
This play, in my opinion, is Shakespeare's greatest. It doesn't have the great quotes or the great characters or the action of many of his plays, but it has a 'Surprise Twist'... Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2001 by "kenamat"
5.0 out of 5 stars My personal favorite of Shakespeare's plays
For me The Winter's Tale is the most satisfying of Shakespeare's plays. And why? It may not be Hamlet for tragedy, it may not be Twelfth Night for comedy -- indeed, perhaps in... Read more
Published on July 22 2001 by Henry Ehrman
4.0 out of 5 stars A real pleasure to read!
I really, really liked this play. This was my third of Shakespeare's, and I was pleased to discover that I hadn't wasted my time reading it. Oh, how sorry I felt for Hermione! Read more
Published on Dec 10 2000 by Kirby Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
"A sad tale's best for winter." And this tale is full of misperceived motives, anger, absurdities, seeming tragedy, and hysterical comedy. Read more
Published on June 4 2000 by NotATameLion
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Awkward, But Still Excellent
In my opinion, this does not quite reach the level of a masterpiece. Leontes' initial rage is too sudden and abrupt. Read more
Published on April 9 2000 by Sean Ares Hirsch
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