Admetus is about to die, to the distress of the people of Thessaly and of his loving wife, Alcestis, and their two children. Upon the Oracle being consulted, it is learned that Admetus' life can be saved if another mortal dies in his place. Queen Alcestis offers herself and is accepted by the Fates as a substitute for the dying Admetus. Admetus, ignorant, as are others, of what Alcestis has done, recovers, rejoined now by his wife, who eventually reveals the sacrifice she has made. As she dies, Admetus tries to kill himself as well. When he makes this choice, the heavens open, Apollo descends and proclaims that the gods will return Alceste as a reward for their steadfast love.