The Servant of Two Masters follows the fortunes — and more often the misfortunes — of Truffaldino, a poor fellow who finds trouble when he puts himself in service to two bosses. The first to enlist him is Beatrice, who has fled to Venice in male disguise. She is pretending to be her brother, who was betrothed to Clarice, daughter of the Venetian merchant Pantalone.
The arrival of Beatrice in disguise upends the imminent plans for Clarice to wed her true love, Silvio, son of a local doctor. All had heard that Beatrice’s brother was killed in a duel (as in fact he was) by her beloved, Florindo. It is Florindo, arriving in Venice shortly after Beatrice, to whom Truffaldino also offers his services, sensibly thinking that two masters will double his pay. Chaos immediately ensues as Truffaldino tries to prevent each master from finding out about the other, Beatrice attempts to maintain her disguise, and Silvio fights to wed his beloved Clarice.