Scene I: Mistress Quickly visits Falstaff and tells him that Alice will be alone at home from two o’clock until three o’clock for an rendezvous.
After she leaves, Ford arrives in disguise as a stranger and confides his own (fictional) failed attempts to seduce Alice. Falstaff boasts that in half an hour’s time, Alice will be his, explaining he already has a secret meeting with her himself. Ford – not knowing of the ladies’ plan – is upset and jealous, but hides his feelings.
Scene II: Back at the Ford’s, Quickly reports that Falstaff has accepted Alice’s invitation. Nannetta is unhappy because Ford is forcing her to marry old Dr Caius, but Alice, Meg and Quickly promise to prevent it so she can marry he true love, Fenton.
Alice is then left alone to receive Falstaff who tries to impress her with tales from his youth. Meg interrupts, panicking as Ford has returned home unexpectedly. They urge Falstaff to hide in a big laundry basket. Ford, convinced that his wife has betrayed him, searches the house. Instead of Alice and Falstaff, he finds Fenton and Nannetta together! Alice orders the servants to dump the laundry basket – with its contents – into the Thames.