- The god, Dionysus, and his slave, Xanthias, are travelling to meet the hero Heracles, to ask about advice on how to get to Hades. Xanthias is very cheeky towards Dionysus, and it does not seem like a regular master/slave relationship.
- Dionysus is in disguise: he is wearing a lion skin and carrying a large club. He is dressed as the recklessly brave Heracles, hoping that this disguise will help to protect him when in the underworld.
- They arrive at Heracles house, where he gives them directions on the "easiest" way to Hades. Dionysus tells Heracles that he wants to go to the underworld because he wants to bring back the great playwright Euripides. He thinks that he can save Athens.
- Dionysus is ferried across to Hades by the boatman, Charon. The chorus of frogs sings during the boat trip, and they and Dionysus fight. The frogs seem to be very well informed about the mortals. Charon refuses to take Xanthias on the boat, and so he has to walk around.
- The two men arrive at the realm…