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Publisher's Summary

Here is the multi award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. This is a full-cast, unabridged performance, with comprehensive commentary and analysis, enabling students to fully understand and appreciate the play. Judge for yourself whether Lear is "a man more sinned against than sinning" in this moral tale that pits wisdom and age against ambition and youth. Experience and examine the power of Shakespeare's most cruel and violent tragedy.
© and (P)2007 SmartPass Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Superb! A totally brilliant way to revise." (Daily Express)
"A wealth of useful material." (Times Educational Supplement)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Makes Shakespeare Accessible

This is a magnificent and entertaining audio program that truly makes a serious and complicated play accessible to anyone. My family listened to the play with commentary version of this program in preparation for seeing the play performed, and we all felt it made a world of difference in our appreciation of both the performance and the play. Strongly recommend!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Philip
  • Kapelle, Netherlands
  • 12-17-08

Excellent guide to a Great Play

After having thoroughly enjoyed the SmartPass Guide to MacBeth, I have now listened to King Lear as well. A much longer play, with a lot of complexity. The commentary version goes through the play in great detail. At some points, the play is significantly slowed down by it. However, once you listen to the full unabridged play without commentary afterwards, you can easily follow the main plot and all subplots, and you will start to appreciate the SmartPass help you received earlier on. King Lear is truly a Great Play by Shakespeare, it touches on many profound human emotions. The one element that annoyed me is the great emphasis on insanity (the Fool, Porton) which I think was "overdone". I personally favour MacBeth over King Lear. Looking forward to the next SmartPass Shakespeare play, probably I will go through Hamlet.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Adding depth to Shakespeare

Would you listen to SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to King Lear (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) again? Why?

I took a chance on this audio presentation by SmartPass based on listener reviews I read. I was not disappointed. The combination of play and commentary worked beautifully and kept me engaged and fascinated throughout. I will definitely download other SmartPass programs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • richard
  • Arlington, VA, United States
  • 09-12-12

A qualified critique

If one has never read Lear, or any other Shakespeare, maybe this voice-over Lear would be informative. If, on the other hand, you have a passing knowledge of the play, any of Shakespeare's other works, the history and manners of Elizabethan England, or even the English language, this reviewer suggests giving this recording a pass. This series must have been conceived for high school students and this text is marred by dumbed down writing and teacherly, slightly condescending narration. I didn't think it was possible to make Lear unlistenable, but Mister Reeves and Ms. Walker have succeeded.

My five star rating is for the play, which I consider Shakespeare's finest. The two stars are for the concept and execution of the voice-over narration.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Ellen
  • Columbia, MO, United States
  • 05-24-16

Shakespeare is fun!

I'm using these guides to familiarize myself with plays that my son is in. They make the stories come alive and I listen to them over and over. Wish all of Shakespeare's works were on Smart Pass

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  • Overall
  • Jayne
  • 09-22-12

Brilliant way of learning

What a brilliant way to learn about the plays of Shakespeare, I've always found Shakespeare very hard going but when you listen with the Passmaster she explains every scene to help you understand the plot, the characters and the meanings are explained, making King Lear understandable to simple folk like me.

After the play with the Passmaster you have the original play, when I was listening to this it was amazing how well I understood what was going on, great if like me you're just interested to learn more of the great man or if at school I'm sure this would be an invaluable source.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Annie
  • 05-27-14

Great play!

Any additional comments?

Once you gift past the idea that the Smartpass was meant for infant school children in the way it was spoken, it had a lot to offer and though 'knowing' this wonderful play, I learnt a lot.