Set in contemporary France, the plot concerns Helena. the daughter of recently deceased court physician, who pursues the well born Bertram, Count of Rossillion. She is granted his hand as a reward for curing the King of a fistula. Bertram, however, is indignant at being forced to marry below his rank. After the wedding he decides he would rather face death in battle than be subjected to a mean marriage. He then cites certain impossible conditions she must meet in order for him to acknowledge her as his wife. After she amazingly meets these conditions, Bertram changes his mind and all ends well.