The Duke of Mantua boasts to a courtier, Borsa, about his most recent infatuation. A girl has enchanted the Duke, but ultimately it makes no difference to him whether he pursues one woman or another. Wishing to select one with whom to spend the evening, he surveys the court and settles upon the Countess Ceprano just as the court jester Rigoletto mocks her husband. Another courtier, Marullo, arrives with surprising news to share with his fellow courtiers: Rigoletto has a mistress. In the meantime, the Duke and Rigoletto discuss several unscrupulous methods of disposing of superfluous husbands. Realizing that he is the object of Rigoletto’s sarcasm, Count Ceprano arranges for a midnight meeting with some of the courtiers to obtain vengeance. The party is interrupted by the arrival of the nobleman Monterone, who storms in to denounce the Duke for dishonoring his daughter. He curses the Duke, and when mocked viciously by Rigoletto, Monterone turns on the jester and curses him as well.