The scene opens with the King of Navarre, Ferdinand, trying to persuade three of his lords to enter into a scholarly contract with him for three years. The first two lords, Berowne and Longaville, sign it quickly, but the third, Dumaine, questions some of the edicts it contains. When they sign, they are ordered to give up women completely, eat only one meal a day, and sleep only three hours a night. Berowne, not realizing before he signed the strictness of the contract, argues with the King about the necessity of the deprivation and whether it is even possible to uphold them. In the end however, the three men agree to serve the King as best they can. While they are talking, the constable, Dull, enters with a man Costard and a letter from a Spanish lord at their court named Armando. The King reads the letter out loud, which states that Costard, against the town edict, was caught in the embrace of a woman. The King commands that he is to be taken to Armando and made to fast for his sin. Costard tries to talk his way out of the punishment, but to no avail.