Goldoni’s eighteenth-century masterpiece is an enduring story of love, passion and mistaken identity. Young Venetian Clarice can't marry her lover, Silvio. She had been betrothed to Rasponi, who appears to have returned from the dead to claim her. But the Rasponi who appears is actually Beatrice, Rasponi's sister who is in disguise as her brother and has come to Venice to find her suitor, Florindo. Complications arise when a servant greedily seeks employment with both the disguised Beatrice and Florindo and spends the rest of the play trying to serve two masters while keeping the two unaware of the other's presence.
The play is based on the Italian Renaissance theatre style, Commedia dell’arte, and reinvigorated the genre, which is so heavily based on carnival, while bringing to it an element of realism, mishaps, mix-ups, confusions, disguises and mistaken identity that come with the style.