Belvile, Willmore, and Frederick enter the street outside of Don Pedro’s house; Willmore is dejected, Belvile furious, and Frederick is attempting to prevent a fight between them. Willmore protests that he had no way of knowing that he had accosted Belvile’s beloved. Belvile insults Willmore repeatedly. Willmore blames the alcohol he drank, and Frederick urges Belvile to forgive their friend. When Willmore asserts that he had no way of knowing that Florinda was noble, Belvile only grows more enraged, demanding a duel. Willmore, ever practical, says that he is too drunk to duel, saying that he will duel tomorrow.
Frederick must play the peacemaker again, as Willmore attempts to weasel his way out of responsibility for his behavior. He then articulates yet another troubling attitude: that he would not have assaulted Florinda if he had known that she was noble. This belief, that a woman should only be safe from rape if she is highborn, is shared by almost all of the men in the play, and reflects an incredibly disturbing attitude at the time.
At the mention of tomorrow, Belvile remembers that Florinda is supposed to marry Don Antonio that day (not knowing about the rift between Antonio and Don Pedro). He wonders whether he may throw any obstacles in Antonio’s way, and Willmore swears he will help, asking who Antonio is. Belvile reveals that he has no idea what Antonio looks like.
The Carnival atmosphere of disguises and concealment has consequences, since neither Willmore nor Belvile have any idea of what Belvile’s rival for Florinda’s hand even looks like. This confusion, too, will have consequences later in the play.
Seeing that they have reached Angelica’s house, Willmore recalls that he has promised to spend the night with her, and is about to go in. As he does so, however, Antonio enters with his sword, and announces that he has paid Angelica’s fee. He resolves to sit under her window and wait for her, or die trying.
Although he has recently flirted with Hellena, Willmore now appears to have transferred his affections to Angelica once more. Antonio’s entrance with his sword, meanwhile, implies to the audience that there is even more violence to come. Yet that sword and Antonio’s bravado is also connected to sex, as his announcement of paying for Angelica makes clear.
As Moretta enters to let Antonio into the house, Willmore reacts with rage that another man will be sleeping with Angelica. He and Antonio begin fighting as Belvile and Frederick watch, aghast that their “mad” companion has found even more trouble.
Moretta, whose concerns are wholly financial, vastly prefers Antonio to Willmore. The cavalier, however, doesn’t care how much chaos he causes, and allows his lust to provoke yet another duel.
Three masked revelers enter, and cry out that a man has been killed (Willmore has injured Antonio). Still extremely drunk, Wilmore says that if a man is dead, he can go home to sleep. He exits, as do the masqueraders.
Willmore is so careless that he does not even know whether he has killed his opponent. He is the perfect representative of Carnival, since he is completely without morals and seemingly immune to consequences.
As Belvile attempts to find Willmore, worried about his friend despite their quarrel, a group of soldiers enter, having heard that there were swords drawn during Carnival (a terrible crime). Recognizing Don Antonio, and seeing that he is hurt, they believe that Belvile has done the deed; they carry Antonio out, and arrest Belvile. As he leaves, Antonio accuses Belvile of attacking him twice, mistaking him not only for Willmore, but also for Don Pedro (remember that Antonio didn’t recognize Pedro when they were both outside Angelica’s in Act 2, scene 1). He orders the soldiers to take the Englishman to his own house.
The idea of Carnival grows increasingly dark and chaotic as the noble and blameless Belvile is arrested for Willmore’s crimes. This confusion is intensified by the fact that Antonio has confused Belvile not only with Willmore, but also with Don Pedro. As the play continues, the confusion of identity will become more and more complicated.