Upon hearing the news that her husband, the Emperor Claudius, has died during a storm at sea, Agrippina Agrippina plots to secure the throne for Nero, her son by a previous marriage. With the support of Pallas and Narcissus, Nero is hailed as the new Emperor before the Senate. However, it turns out that Claudius is in fact alive and Otho saved his life. In gratitude Claudius has declared that Otho shall be heir to the throne. Matters are complicated by the fact that Claudius, Otho and Nero are all in love with the courtesan, Poppaea. As the plot thickens, Claudius tries to resolve the matter by keeping Otho as his heir and allowing Nero to marry Poppaea. But now Nero values his political ambitions more than Poppaea and Otho values Poppaea more than his desire for the throne. In the end, the Empire is left to Nero and Otho is given Poppaea.