_____Cupid, disguised as Ascanius, sets out to make Dido fall in love with Aeneas. Meanwhile, we discover that Iarbas is also pining for Dido. When Cupid's magic starts to work, Dido first orders Iarbas "Depart from Carthage! Come not in my sight" then has a change of heart and asks him to "stay a while" and then, presumably once the charm takes hold, sends him packing again. Anna, her companion, laments, "O that Iarbas could but fancy me!"
Dido begins to muse on Aeneas's beauty and when he enters offers to "repair thy Trojan ships, / Conditionally that thou wilt stay with me, / And let Achates sail to Italy." She shows him pictures of the suitors who have contended for her, and pretends not to be in love with him, presumably to make him jealous, and then proposes that they go hunting together.
Juno enters and sees the sleeping Ascanius, "Aeneas' cursed brat," but Venus enters to denounce Juno for having attempted to kill Aeneas. But then the two goddesses make up, and joins in the plot to get Aeneas and Dido together, Juno offering to create a storm so that "in one cave the queen and he shall meet. And Venus says,
Meanwhile, Ascanius shall be my charge,The hunting party enters, with Iarbas bemoaning Dido's apparent preference for Aeneas.
Whom I will bear to Ida in mine arms,
And couch him in Adonis' purple down.
The storm drives Aeneas and Dido into the cave, where Dido makes her move.