King Richard III

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, Geraldine McEwan, Nicholas Farrell, Stella Gonet, Michael Maloney
  • 3 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Written in 1593, King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. This play differs from its predecessors, being amore structured piece, examining the development and motivations of a single character, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the throne occupied by his brother Edward IV.
Richard III is a self-motivating character who defies determinism (a life preordained by God) and sets his life on a course chosen by his own will and desire, as he puns in the opening soliloquy: "I am determined to be a villain. Determined by birth and God, and determined in the other sense, by his own will."

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Customer Reviews

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Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end

“Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;
Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.”
― William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act IV.4

Shakespeare's first Masterpiece. I find it hard to not think of this as the beginning of Shakespeare's real reign. His characters are amazing. His images are haunting. His monologues are beautiful. Yes, certainly I still think his best is yet to come, but if he died only producing this, we would still sing his name for the next 1000 years. King Richard is a beast, but one you can't take your eyes off of. Many of Shakespeare's best characters are fools and murderers. I also think this is the play where William Shakespeare has grown up and thrown off many of this earlier, more childish crutches. Most of the action in this play takes place off stage. We are left transfixed not by swords and blood, but by sharper and scarier things -- words and mother's curses.

There were also several nice lines, specifically:

- “Now is the winter of our discontent.”
- “Dispute not with her: she is lunatic.”
- "All springs reduces their currents to mine eyes,
That I, being governed by the watery moon,
May send forth plenteous tears to drown the World."
- “So wise so young, they say, do never live long.”
- “Shine out fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
That I may see my shadow as I pass.”
- "Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.
They smile at me who shortly shall be dead."
- "Be the attorney of my love to her:
Plead what I will be, not what I have been -"
- “I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.”

I could go on and on, for there are multitudes.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Not the best Richard III

Trust me... this is not the Richard III you want. The one you want is the Caedmon version (also on Audible). It's older and the recording itself is not as good, but the performances are dead-on and amazing.

Kenneth Branagh (a guy who is an amazing actor, don't get me wrong) delivers a flat-line Richard. Richard is no fun in this version. He takes no evil pleasure in his manipulations... it's almost like he's just going through the motions. Several of the scenes are just plain lifeless! Sure, the production value is good and the actors are quality, but you won't find magic here.

In the Caedmon version, Robert Stephens plays Richard III, and from the first scene, he charms you into playing along with his "inductions dangerous." And the rest of the characters are so much more full than in the Branagh version. Clarence is truly sympathetic in the Caedmon version (here, he's just pathetic). Queen Margaret is truly engaging, where her thirst for revenge has almost turned her into one of Macbeth's weird sisters. I'm not sure who plays Queen Elizabeth, but when she delivers the line "My reasons are too deep and dead," it's harrowing.

Kenny will serve you in other plays, but leave this one and look for Bobby. The Caedmon recording quality will annoy you on occassion, but I promise you, the acting will more than make up for it.
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- Robert Cathcart

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-25-2001
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks