Swanilda and her boyfriend Franz live in a village with Dr Coppelius, a sinister inventor who has created a beautiful doll that he sits on his balcony. Franz sees the doll, Coppélia, and becomes infatuated. Swanilda decides to explore Dr Coppelius' house, but he returns suddenly and Swanilda hides - pretending to be Coppélia.
At the same time, Franz climbs into the house but is also discovered. He is invited in and offered a drink with sleeping draught in it, as Dr Coppelius plans to steal his life force to animate his doll. When Franz passes out, Coppelius brings out Coppélia so Swanilda pretends to be a doll coming to life.
Coppelius is delighted - until Swanilda manages to wake Franz and they escape from the house and are married.