Exit pursued by a bear

Wodehouse discusses his treatment of Shakespeare’s ‘exit pursued by bear’ wheeze.

The Soul Tamagotchi

Exit pursued by a bear

I suppose the fundamental distinction between Shakespeare and myself is one of treatment. We get our effects differently. Take the familiar farcical situation of someone who suddenly discovers that something unpleasant is standing behind them. Here is how Shakespeare handles it in “The Winter’s Tale,” Act 3, Scene 3:

ANTIGONUS: Farewell! A lullaby too rough. I never saw the heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour! Well may I get aboard! This is the chase: I am gone for ever.

And then comes literature’s most famous stage direction:

“Exit pursued by a bear.”

All well and good, but here’s the way I would handle it:

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2 thoughts on “Exit pursued by a bear

  1. Oh dear. I left a comment congratulating this chap on how well he achieved the Wodehouse tone – and I’ve just realised that’s because it *was* by Wodehouse. And I’ve no idea how to cancel it.

    Commenting when you’re tired is not a good idea …


    1. Oh no. I’ve done similar things (far too often). Never mind. You were at least correct about the Wodehouse tone. What a blooper it would have been if you’d told him it was a terrible imitation (not that you would).

      Liked by 1 person

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