Radamès, an Egyptian general, learns that his nation will soon be at war. He dreams of leading the army into battle and returning victorious to Aida, an enslaved woman with whom he is secretly in love.
Unbeknownst to her captors, Aida is the daughter of the Ethiopian king, Amonasro. When war is declared and Radamès is chosen to lead the army into battle, Aida is torn between her love for him and her love for her country.
Amneris, daughter of the Egyptian King, longs for Radamès’ affection but suspects he and Aida are in love. To discover the truth, she tells Aida that Radamès has been killed in battle. Aida’s reaction of grief gives her secret away.
Radamès leads the army to victory and captures Amonasro. The King offers him any reward he desires, and he asks for all prisoners to be released. The King agrees and releases all but Aida and Amonasro. He then announces that Radamès will be his successor and offers the hand of Amneris in marriage.
As Aida waits to meet with Radamès, Amonasro appears and demands that she trick her lover into revealing his army’s whereabouts. She agrees reluctantly and when Radamès appears, Aida leads him to unwittingly reveal the location of his army.
Amneris arrives and sees Radamès, Aida and Amonasro together. Radamès orders Aida and Amonasro to escape but horrified that he has betrayed his country, surrenders himself.
Amneris begs Radamès to renounce his love for Aida and marry her instead, but he refuses. The High Priest sentences him to death by burial. Distraught, Amneris pleads for mercy, but to no avail.
Radamès is buried alive in a dark vault. He is shocked to discover Aida, who has hidden herself in the vault to die with him. They declare their love for each for the last time.