Ambitioso and Supervacuo enter, bragging of the way they orchestrated Lussurioso’s execution. They plot to bring about Junior Brother’s release, with Ambitioso saying he has a “trick” to help. At this moment, an officer enters with a head covered by a cloth.
Pride comes before a fall here, as Ambitioso and Supervacuo have yet to realize that they unwittingly ordered Junior Brother’s execution, not Lussurioso’s. The head brought in is of the latter and is another stark reminder of death. In its initial anonymity, the head also symbolizes the way in which life is devalued throughout the play, displaced either by lust or the quest for revenge.
The officer informs Ambitioso and Supervacuo that he has brought them the “bleeding head,” which they assume to be Lussurioso’s. They feign solemn sadness and ask questions about the execution.
The audience, of course, knows the identity of the head, and can enjoy the suspense before the brothers’ realization.
Lussurioso suddenly appears on stage, much to Ambitioso and Supervacuo’s surprise. They pretend to have aided his release by convincing the Duke to be gentle in his judgment. Lussurioso thanks them and exits.
Lussurioso’s appearance is highly comic—to the brothers it’s as if he has just come back from the dead. This also further demonstrates Lussurioso’s dim-witted obliviousness to what’s actually happening.
Ambitioso and Supervacuo ask the officer to let them see the head. It dawns on them that they had not been specific about which brother to kill, and that the officer had assumed they meant Junior Brother. They look at the head in horror, before vowing revenge on “all.”
Revenge reaches its ridiculous peak in the brothers’ vow to get their own back on “all.” This sets the play up for a gory finish.