On a street in Windsor, Falstaff's boy servant (Robin) follows Mistress Page around like a little puppy.
They're on their way to see Mistress Ford when they bump into Mistress Ford's jealous, insecure husband.
Master Ford makes a snide crack about his wife's friendship with Mistress Page, saying he thinks that they'd marry each other if their husbands were dead.
Mistress Page quips back that, sure, they'd get remarried all right… to "two other husbands." Oh, snap!
Ford asks who Robin works for and Mistress Page pretends not to remember the guy's name. (That would be Falstaff and Master Ford knows it.)
Now Ford is totally convinced that Falstaff is sleeping with Mistress Page and Mistress Ford—which is probably just the reaction Mistress Page wanted when she denied knowing Falstaff's name.
After Mistress Page and Robin leave, Ford delivers another nasty soliloquy about how he plans to catch Falstaff with his wife so he can (1) "torture" her, (2) make Mistress Page look like a bimbo, and (3) show everyone that Master Page is a chump. He tells us he's going to run home so he can catch Falstaff and his wife together.
Then Page, Shallow, Slender, the Host, Evans, John Rugby, and Caius show up. Great!
Now Ford will have an audience when he confronts his wife.
He invites the guys back to his house and promises them a good time. Slender and Shallow can't make it.
They're on their way to the Page house to have dinner with Anne. Slender's hoping to win her over with his best moves. Yeah, good luck with that.
Page tells everyone that he wants his daughter to marry Slender, but her mom wants her to get hitched to Doctor Caius. What does Anne want? Ha! That's apparently the last question on anyone's mind.
The Host chimes in that Fenton seems like a good candidate—he's young, likes to dance, writes poetry, always smells good, and knows how to talk to girls. Page is all "ABSOLUTELY NOT!"
Apparently, Master Fenton is broke. Plus, he's an aristocrat and Page doesn't want his daughter marrying someone outside her social class. (Uncap those highlighters, again, Shmoopers, because this is going to define, oh, the next 300 years of political and social anxieties in England: poor aristocrats marrying rich commoners.)
Page says that Fenton just wants Anne for her money and points out that he used to hang out with hoodlums like the Prince of Wales and a loser named Poins.
Brain Snack: This is a shout-out to Henry IV Part 1, where wild Prince Hal and his low-life pals (Ned Poins, Falstaff, and Bardolph) raised hell all throughout Eastcheap London. Even though Fenton never appeared in Henry IV Part 1, we get Shakespeare's point—the guy used to be a spoiled, wild child.
Ford convinces Page, Caius, and Evans to go home with him for some "cheer" (read: drinking) and "sport" (read: catching his wife in bed with Falstaff). Let the good times roll!