Violetta Valéry, one of the most desired courtesans in Paris, has recently been seriously ill. Now she is celebrating her apparent recovery with her guests at the side of Baron Douphol. A young man from the country, Alfredo Germont, is introduced to her. He has been secretly in love with her for the last year. She attempts in vain to escape his love.
Violetta and Alfredo have fled to the country in order to devote themselves to their love. However, Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father, calls on Violetta to leave Alfredo, since Alfredo’s relationship with a courtesan would ruin the life of Germont’s daughter. Violetta ends her relationship with Alfredo. Germont tries in vain to win back his son, and Alfredo feels himself betrayed by Violetta. At a masquerade party given by Flora, Violetta’s rival in their Parisian milieu, the guests are amusing themselves dressed up as gypsies and bullfighters. Alfredo is seeking Violetta, who has come to the party with Baron Douphol. The baron challenges Alfredo at the gaming table. Violetta keeps her promise to Germont and denies her love for Alfredo. Alfredo humiliates her in front of all the guests. Giorgio Germont renounces his son. Baron Douphol challenges Alfredo to a duel. Violetta forgives Alfredo.
Violetta is very ill and hopes that Alfredo, who had to flee after the duel with the baron, will return. The doctor says she does not have long to live. In Alfredo’s arms, she hopes for another recovery and for a future spent together. She realizes at last that she is dying, and gives Alfredo her picture as a sign of her love.