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I bought this when I was doing my A-levels as I thought it would save me having to read the book. As an adult I have listened to it again in my car and enjoyed it much more than when I was a teenager and forced to love Shakespeare! Julius Caesar was my favourite tragedy though, Antony's soliloquy , "Friends, Romans, Countrymen...lend me your ears," is probably the best speech I have ever heard and still the beginning gets repeated in common usage today. The audio cd was a great help as a teenager struggling with the archaic language though and especially with the Iambic pentameter. The audio book teaches you how it should be and rather than shows the story with you kicking and screaming, it makes the story dramatic and interesting and a pleasure to listen to.
The audiobook is set in Ancient Rome which is ablaze with terrifying portents and soothsayers who warn Julius Caesar of impending doom. Caesar is the most important man in Rome and his power begins to threaten the very foundations that Rome is built upon. A deathly conspiracy "Et tu Brute?" is hatched where Caesar is assassinated and noble, honorable Brutus has to decide between head and heart. Julius Caesar is a tale of betrayal and murder and the audiobook lulls you in so beautifully. This BBC dramatisation with an all American cast brings you into the story with excellent narration and keeps you in suspense.
There are some excellent scenes portrayed by the cast and right from the first warning of, "Beware the Ides of March," the cast capture the mystery and sense of impending doom in this pivotal line. As Caesar blows the warning away, you know that he is making a huge mistake. The whole adaptation keeps the rhythm of the stanzas and this makes the whole thing sound so beautiful. It carries you along with the gentle rhythm and in moments of suspense such as the assassination, you feel like you are willing the narrator to read quicker. I feel that in the audio adaptation I learned more about the story and enjoyed different bits to when I read it.
If I was going to mention one of my favourite scenes it would be the one in the wake of Brutus's suicide where Anthony gives his eulogy. As the listener, you start to hate Antony so much. When Antony states, "This was the noblest Roman of them all." You know he is being slightly in awe of Brutus despite mocking the naivety of Brutus. He killed his friend because he thought it was for the good of the people and people used him to cover up their jealously. Anthony shows us that Brutus is noble because instead of surrendering, he used his sword on himself, this is indeed a noble act.
What I enjoyed most about the audio book is that the story was spoon fed, as a teenager I wanted the answered quickly and reading was more tasking than listening. You get to work out tension and pivotal moments by the intonation of the narrators. They make it easier to connect with the story. As an adult though, I took great pleasure in listening to this as it is so different hearing it for pleasure rather than because you have to. I would recommend this, it is 2 and half hours where you can kick back and allow yourself to drift back to Ancient Rome. You can buy this for £9 from online book and audio shops. You can download the audio version for £3.
A radio dramatization of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". The play is introduced by Richard Eyre, former Director of The Royal National Theatre. The sleeve notes include a scene-by-scene synopsis, full character analysis, and an essay on interpretation from the producer.