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