The young poet Friedrich Hölderlin, aged 26, travels to Frankfurt to become a tutor in the family of Jakob Gontard, a banker. His friend and protector of the same age, Baron Isaac Von Sinclair, has found him this position to have him close at hand. Very quickly, Susette Gontard and Hölderlin fall in love. The war forces Gontard to ask Hölderlin to take his family away while he remains in Frankfurt. Their flight becomes the setting for Susette and Hölderlin's love affair.
Sinclair, who is jealous, informs Gontard of the romantic bond between his wife and Hölderlin. The poet is dismissed. He seeks refuge with Sinclair and spends another two years in Frankfurt, seeing Susette secretly. During this difficult time, he writes his finest poems. So as not to perish from this unrequited love, Hölderlin accepts a position as tutor in France. Shortly after his arrival, he finds out that Susette is seriously ill. He crosses France in the turmoil of the Revolution. When he reaches Frankfurt, Susette is dead. Hölderlin becomes mad and hostile. Unable to bear his sick friend any longer, Sinclair orders his internment. Hölderlin lived in a state of lunacy in the tower at Tübingen.