Uberto complains about his maidservant Serpina, who is late bringing him his chocolate and has become a dictator in his home.
He tells his servant Vespone to find him a wife who will do what she is told. Serpina overhears and offers herself, but Uberto is adamant that it should be anybody but her.
Serpina persuades Vespone to join her in tricking the master into marrying her. She tells Uberto of her plans to marry Captain Tempest, and when he asks to meet her suitor she introduces a disguised Vespone. Serpina tells him of the silent Captain's wish for a dowry. If he does not receive the money he will insist that Uberto marry her in his place.
Valuing money above peace and quiet, Uberto agrees to marry Serpina, and when Vespone reveals himself, Uberto realizes that he has loved Serpina all along.