Preparing your answer

It is always a good idea to plan your answer before you begin writing. Having a plan means you will leave space to make all the points you want to, rather than risk running out of ideas. You must also refer to the examiner's assessment objectives to ensure you have met the criteria.

Below is a structure that you could use for your answer:

  1. Introduction. How is Benedick presented?
  2. How Benedick refers to himself.
  3. How Benedick talks about Beatrice.
  4. How this compares with Benedick at the start of the play.
  5. Conclusion. Summarise your points.

Sample answers

Here are two sample answers that refer to point 2 of the essay plan.

Sample answer 1

Benedick is seen as a changed man in this section when he is hiding in the orchard. He has overheard his friends talking about how Beatrice is in love with him and he is now convinced that he is also in love with her. He says that he cannot disagree with their statement that "the lady is fair". This is funny for the audience because until this point in the play they have seen Benedick swearing that he would never marry.

Feedback comments – Not bad but room for improvement!

  • This answer shows that the candidate understands the character and has some sense of how language is used to convey meaning. However, a clearer explanation of the literary techniques used would be useful. For example, showing how Benedick refers to the 'wit' and 'argument' that have characterised his relationship with Beatrice so far.
  • The candidate identifies the section of the play where this is from, but could refer more specifically to what has happened before. An improved answer would make more detailed comparisons.
  • Correct spelling and punctuation is used. For a higher level, more sophisticated language and use of technical language is needed.

Sample answer 2

In this extract from Act 2 Scene 3, we see a change in Benedick. He has just overheard his friends talking about Beatrice in the orchard. He is unaware that he has been tricked and the dramatic irony creates comedy -- the audience knows that his friends intend for him to fall in love and there is a delight in the apparent success of their plan. He says "They say the lady is fair" and this admission that Beatrice is attractive to him shows that he has changed his mind. Early in the play he described her as "my dear Lady Disdain", implying that he found her disagreeable. The contrast here creates comedy for the audience, which realises that Benedick has been denying his feelings for Beatrice.

Feedback comments – Much better!

  • The expression here is more sophisticated. Sentences are complex and ideas are confidently conveyed.
  • The candidate explores the effects of language on the audience.
  • Comparisons with earlier parts of the play are integrated in the response.
  • Candidate refers to structure in mentioning 'Act 2' and could expand on this further.
  • More specific use of literary language would make this an even better answer.

Read over the assessment objectives again. Then use the plan and everything you have learned in this section to write your own timed answer.