While Hero, Beatrice, Leonato, and Antonio wait for the evening’s masked ball to begin, Hero and Beatrice, discuss their idea of the perfect man—a happy medium between Don John, who never talks, and Benedick, who engages himself in constant banter. This exchange leads into a conversation about whether or not Beatrice will ever get a husband, and Beatrice laughingly claims that she will not.
Leonato and Antonio also remind Hero about their belief that Don Pedro plans to propose to her that evening. The other partygoers enter, and the men put on masks. Supposedly, the women now cannot tell who the men are. The music begins, and the dancers pair off and hold conversations while they dance.
Don Pedro’s musician, Balthasar, dances with Hero’s servant Margaret and old Antonio dances with Hero’s other servant, Ursula. Meanwhile, Don Pedro dances with Hero and begins to flirt with her. Benedick dances with Beatrice, who either does not recognize him or pretends not to. She insults Benedick thoroughly to her dancing partner, saying that while Benedick thinks that he is witty others find him completely boring.