The city of Verona is in the middle of political upheaval with the followers of the Capulet family at war against the followers of the Montague family. Romeo, the leader of the Montagues, prepares to enter enemy territory. Romeo is known to the Capulets only by name and dons a disguise to further hide her identity.
The Capulet leader Capellio maintains a firm and decisive political hold on his followers and decries that Romeo is sending an envoy with peace proposals. Lorenzo counsels Capellio and the roused Capulets to hear the proposals. Tebaldo promises vengeance with the blood of Romeo. Capellio offers Tebaldo his daughter, Giulietta and announces they are to be married that evening. Lorenzo knows of the secret romance between Romeo and Giulietta and advises against the marriage, claiming Giulietta is ill.
Romeo arrives in disguise and proposes peace, cunningly suggesting that Romeo and Giulietta be married symbolically as part of the pact. Capellio refuses and promises that the war will continue and more citizens of Verona will die. Romeo learns that Giulietta is to marry Tebaldo. Giulietta waits until the Capulet men have left and laments Capellio's decision. Lorenzo sneaks Romeo back to see Giulietta. She refuses to run away with Romeo, afraid of her father’s wrath.
The Capulets celebrate the wedding of Giulietta and Tebaldo. Romeo, now disguised as a Capulet, confides to Lorenzo that there are a thousand armed Montagues outside the city preparing to attack. Lorenzo urges Romeo to abandon these plans. The attack begins. Capellio and Tebaldo arrive with the senior Capulets. They recognize the envoy as Romeo defiantly identifies herself and escapes…
Lorenzo tells Giulietta that Romeo is safe; however, the wedding to Tebaldo will take place the next day. Lorenzo devises a plan and instructs Giulietta to take a potion that will produce the illusion of death. Giulietta immediately grasps the potion and drinks it. Capellio enters and instructs her to rest and to prepare for her wedding. Capellio and his daughter share a moment of truth. Harboring suspicions of Lorenzo, he sends for Tebaldo and orders him to watch and guard Lorenzo.
Romeo stealthily searches for Lorenzo and discovers Tebaldo who challenges her to a duel. Just as they are about to engage in combat, they hear distant funeral music and realize it is a funeral procession to Giulietta's tomb. Both are unable to fight.
A desperate Romeo finds the tomb of Giulietta and orders her tomb to be opened. Romeo bids farewell to Giulietta and drinks poison. Giulietta wakes from her false slumber and calls out to Romeo. She sees a figure at the foot of the tomb and is relieved, but Romeo tells her about the poison and dies in her arms. Giulietta, despondent, kills herself. Both political factions rush to the scene but are too late…