The Winter's Tale

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Sinead Cusack, Ciaran Hinda, Eileen Atkins, Paul Jesson, Sir John Gielgud
  • 2 hrs and 52 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

King Leontes of Sicilia is seized by sudden and terrible jealousy of his wife Hermione, whom he accuses of adultery. He believes the child Hermione is bearing was fathered by his friend Polixenes, and when the baby girl is born he orders her to be taken to some wild place and left to die. Though Hermione's child escapes death, Leontes' cruelty has terrible consequences. Loss paves the way for reunion, and life and hope are born out of desolation and despair.
One of the late romances in Shakespeare's canon, this complex work is at times tragic, at times humorous, but always entertaining and enlightening.
Sinead Cusack plays Hermione, and Ciaran Hinda plays Leontes. Eileen Atkins is Paulina and Paul Jesson is Polixenes. Time the Chorus is played by Sir John Gielgud.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Snapper-Up of Unconsidered Trifles

Thus does Autolycus, the quick-witted and even quicker-tongued rouge of this play, describe himself. And sometimes the same words apply to me.

Before I joined Audible as a full-fledged member, the sales and Daily Deals loomed rather largely in my life. I’d snap up books that “looked good” or that I knew would be “good for me”. Thus I have in my library War and Peace (granted, no trifle; I have yet to embark upon), Brave New World (which I enjoyed as far as a nightmare can be enjoyed) and Gulliver’s Travels (which I loathed). And, since December of 2014, I’ve had The Winter’s Tale.

After all, it’s Shakespeare, right? Shakespeare is good and good for you, right? And it was only $1.95, if I remember. Yet it languished on my digital shelf for coming on two and a half years. Only when our local (free) Shakespeare Festival chose Winter’s Tale as this summer’s offering did I dig it out and listen.

All my objections that had kept me from listening quickly fell away. I thought it would be hard to distinguish the characters without seeing them on stage. Wrong. I feared the plot—in a play such as this, complex, quick, fanciful—would leave me far behind, panting to catch up. Not a problem. I even suspected the acting would be hammy. Quite the opposite.

This is a superb production, superbly done. I hadn’t read the play since high school so the story (really a fairy tale) was completely fresh. Somehow Shakespeare managed to take an utterly implausible story (even when reading the scene, I can’t tell from whence Leontes’ baseless suspicions of his wife spring) and make it into something that made me laugh and, yes, even drop a tear.
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- John

A Lesser Known Shakespeare Gem

Would you listen to The Winter's Tale again? Why?

I will listen to The Winter's Tale again in a year or two. Shakespeare was the master of the English language--his witticism and story telling ability is masterful. While this story is not one of his better known ones, its still very good and worth the listen. The cast did a fantastic job emoting the story without having to see them.


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- Ark1836

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-09-2014
  • Publisher: Arkangel