Quick recap: Giselle is being pursued by two suitors – Hilarion and Duke Albrecht (who is disguised as a farmer named Loys). Giselle has fallen for Albrecht and Hilarion is pretty jealous. It is an autumn morning during the grape harvest, Albrecht is wooing Giselle, Hilarion is getting annoyed, and things are about to get interesting.
So, Hilarion finds Giselle prancing around with Albrecht yet again, and I’m not gunna mince my words here: he does some admonishing. He warns Giselle not to trust Albrecht, but she doesn’t listen. Hilarion tries to separate the couple, but Albrecht fights back. It’s a typical ballet altercation involving a kick or two, some jabbing, and a pirouette, but it’s enough to drive Hilarion into the forest.
With Hilarion gone, Giselle and Albrecht get back to dancing, and Albrecht, totally amped on fight juice, asks Giselle to marry him. She accepts despite the fact that she knows absolutely nothing about him.
A pile of villagers arrive after some grape harvesting, and invite Giselle and Albrecht to join in a celebration of… grapes, presumably. It doesn’t take long for people to find out about the engagement, and everyone starts celebrating the impending marriage of their favourite local to a dude who randomly turned up a few days ago. There is a lot of singing and dancing, and absolutely no one says: what the hell, Giselle?
Berthe, Giselle’s mother, emerges from her cottage and scolds the revelers for their loud partying. She tells Giselle to stop dancing because – and this is pretty important – Giselle has a weak heart that leaves her in delicate health. She’s not supposed to be dancing. At all. And yes, you’re right, Giselle seems to do an awful lot of dancing for someone who shouldn’t be doing so. Like Hilarion, Berthe doesn’t approve of the stranger who has been hanging off her daughter, and reminds Giselle about stranger danger – not that Giselle listens.
A noble hunting party arrives in the village, seeking refreshment after a rigorous hunt. No one likes drop-in visitors, but the villagers are always up for a party and don’t say a word about how silly it is for rich people to have gone out without snacks. The hunters are led by the Prince of Courland and his daughter, Princess Bathilde. Yes, that Bathilde. Albrecht’s OTHER fiancée. Albrecht scurries away before Bathilde sees him, knowing she will recognize him, as his disguise basically consists of tights and a vest. (A fake beard and glasses would have been well advised.)
Giselle and the villagers mingle with the hunters. Giselle gets weird and wants to touch Princess Bathilde’s dress and stuff. This may or may not be due to her heart condition and a lack of oxygen to the brain. When Princess Bathilde learns that both she and
Creepy Giselle are engaged, she gives her a beautiful necklace. Giselle is all: thanks! But in her head she’s thinking: I bet my dude is better than yours, because she doesn’t know they’re both engaged to the same sac of crap.
Now, while all this has been going on, Hilarion has been poking around Albrecht’s cottage and finds some fancy clothes and a sword embellished with a coat of arms. He’s pretty excited because now he’s got proof that Albrecht isn’t who he says he is.
The hunting party departs from the village, but the villagers keep partying – it’s a real rager. Albrecht returns now that Bathilde is gone, and joins Giselle in – what else – more dancing. That’s when Hilarion busts in. He gets super excited and dance mimes: Loys is a Duke in disguise, because people don’t talk in ballets and have to gesticulate a lot of stuff. Then Hilarion hurls Albrecht’s fancy threads and bejeweled sword on the ground before Giselle. There is a lot of shock and awe – some of which is over the absolutely gorgeous sword. (The following year, BeDazzlers are released so home crafters can make their own fancy daggers.)
For bonus points, Hilarion sounds off on a hunting-horn, and the hunting party returns. Bathilde sees Albrecht and immediately starts miming questions like: why are you dressed like that? And Albrecht gestures out something like: it’s just one of those funny jokes… get it? And then grabs her hand because that makes everything seem more sincere.
Bathilde announces that she is engaged to Albrecht, and he doesn’t deny it. Giselle is all: what… no… I… engaged? It was pretty awkward for the people standing around pretending not to listen.
Giselle descends into madness faster than a sneeze through a screen door. She pieces together the Duke’s lies and starts flipping out. She rips the gifted necklace from her neck and starts clawing at her hair like a diseased badger. She does some talking to herself and rocks back and forth a bit. Then she gets the crazy eyes. Everyone is pretty freaked out. Albrecht is embarrassed, and gesticulates: dude, you’re causing a scene, calm yourself! But Giselle breaks away from him, grabs his sword and puts it to her heart. She falls to the ground and dies. But it wasn’t the sword that killed her. No. It was the dancing. WHICH HER MOTHER HAD SPECIFICALLY WARNED HER ABOUT.
Now, the ballet could end there. But it doesn’t. There’s a second act. And yes, it gets weirder.