Harpagon wants Mariane to meet his son, Cléante. When Cléante enters the stage, Mariane tells Frosine that he is the same young man she wants to marry. Frosine is dumbfounded.
Cléante, thinking on his feet, tells Mariane that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. But he also says that he isn't happy about the idea of her becoming his stepmother.
Harpagon thinks that Cléante just doesn't like the idea of having a stepmom, and scolds the boy for his insolence.
Cléante keeps finding clever ways to compliment Mariane without revealing that he loves her. Eventually, though, he starts laying it on so thick that Harpagon is all like, "Okay, son. That's enough now."