When Pompey is brought to prison for his offenses the Provost asks him if he would like to get out of his sentence by being an assistant to the executioner, Abhorson. Abhorson objects at first, but then decides to accept Pompey, and together they prepare for the two executions that are supposed to take place the following day. The two men to be killed are summoned, but Barnardine refuses to come. The Friar then enters and tells Claudio to have hope for a pardon he is expecting from Angelo. Claudio leaves, and the Friar is alone with Provost when a messenger comes from Angelo. He carries a message that says that Claudio must be executed immediately. The Friar tells Provost to stall in his execution even though Angelo demands that the head of the prisoner be sent to him when it's done. The Friar promises that no harm will come to the man, so they make a plan to kill the other prisoner who doesn't seem to care about living and use his head instead.