Giselle, a weak-hearted young girl who is adored by her native villagers, lives with her watchful mother, Berthe (She had a vision that her daughter will one day become a Wili, a maiden who dies before her wedding night. The Wilis emerge between midnight and dawn to vengefully trap any man who enters their domain by forcing him to dance to his death) Hilarion, the village gamekeeper, is desperately in love with Giselle. Prince Albrecht, a nobleman who is already engaged to a noblewoman named Bathilde, is bored and lonely with his everyday existence. Captivated by Giselle, he flirts with her and as a result, she falls completely in love with him. Hilarion, filled with suspicion and jealousy, becomes enraged when Giselle falls madly in love with Albrecht.
During the village celebration of the end of the harvest, Hilarion exposes Albrecht’s duplicity and reveals Loys’s true identity to Giselle; overwhelmingly distraught and horrified, Giselle dies of a broken heart.
Hilarion is discovered just before midnight keeping vigil by Giselle’s tomb. As midnight approaches, the Wilis appear with their leader, Queen Myrta. Albrecht, that same night, visits Giselle’s grave. At this point, Myrta discovers Hilarion in the forest and orders the Wilis to dance around him until he dies from exhaustion. She then discovers Albrecht and condemns him to dance with her spectral sisters until he dies, but Giselle intervenes to save him. At dawn, when the Wilis lose their power and must retreat to their dwelling place, Albrecht is savedby Giselle love. Now the spirit of Giselle must return with the Wilis.