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Publisher's Summary

Palamon and Arcite, cousins and bosom friends, are taken prisoner by Duke Theseus of Athens. While in captivity, they spy the beautiful Emilia. Both fall instantly in love with her, and their attachment to each other turns to hate.

This dark-edged tragicomedy is now widely regarded as having been written by Shakespeare in collaboration with John Fletcher. Composed sometime in 1613-14, The Two Noble Kinsmen is the final play in Shakespeare's dramatic career.

Jonathan Firth plays Palamon, Nigel Cooke is Arcite, and Emilia is played by Helen Schlesinger.

Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about The Two Noble Kinsmen

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

1

“Our reasons are not prophets
When oft our fancies are.”
― William Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen

This play sits next to 'Pericles, The Two Gentlemen of Verona', 'Henry VIII', and 'Cymbeline' as one of my least favorite Shakespeare plays. Ugh. I'm not a fan of Shakespeare's collaborations (see 'Henry VIII') plus 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' is also just a bit boring.

The story is losely based on Chauser's 'A Knight's Tale', but Shakespeare puts the two cousin's in love with one woman and sets the story in Athens and Thebes. I think the failing of this tragedy stems from, surprisingly, the inability of the play to convince me (the reader) in the transformation of the cousins from noble cousins to jealous dicks. There just isn't a strong enough catelyst. My other major beef with the play, is there isn't enough Shakespeare in it. Not enough amazing lines. Not enough dance to the English.

Most scholars agree on the following division in the play:

Prologue - Fletcher
Act 1 - Shakespeare
Act 2.1 - Shakespeare
Act 2.2-2.6 Fletcher
Act 3.1-3.2 Shakespeare
Act 3 Fletcher
Act 4 Fletcher
Act 5.1 Shakespeare
Act 5.2 Fletcher
Act 5.3-5.4 Shakespeare
Epilogue - Fletcher

There is some disagreement about whether Shakespeare or Fletcher wrote the first 33 lines of Act 5. Think about THAT. That is Biblical level exegesis when scholars, nearly 400 years after the fact are still disputing a page of lines of a VERY minor play. That level of byzantine back and forth is worthy of a play, or at least a narrative poem.

7 people found this helpful

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A Not Bad Collaboration Play

I have been listening to some Shakespeare that I have never seen performed and did not recall reading. I read the complete works years ago, but had no memory whatsoever of this play. It is not bad, but it lacks any single compelling scene to latch onto. Most of the plays have at least one, and sometimes many, unforgettable monologs, dialogs, or narration. Alas, this play was enjoyable but unmemorable. I finished listening to this not long ago, and could provide an outline of the story and characters, but can't seem to recall my favorite scene. I suspect I will forget it again before long.

This is one of the "Shakespeare" plays that was written in collaboration. I tend to uniformly like the collaborations the least of as the "Shakespeare" plays.

This is not a great play to use as an introduction to Shakespeare.

The acting and narration, as well as the sound effects and music, were quite nice.

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Solid Shakespeare Play

No my favorite Shakespeare play, the plot is a bit mundane, however the performance is outstanding and it helps me to round out my Shakespeare experience.

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Outstanding Entertainment

I listened to the Arkangel audio while reading the play in E Book format from Delphi Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I found this play exceptionally enjoyable and entertaining. Quite a good amount of musical scores accompanied this production and the singing was outstanding. In the work two cousins are prisoners after a battle they participated in was lost and they both fall in love instantly with the same maiden. As the play proceeds there is betrayal, fighting and the jailers daughter becomes a bit of a mad person who goes about the town singing and acting foolish (well love does that to you I suppose). The cast of the production put in a delightful performance. Highly recommend enjoying Shakespeare this way.