The musings of internationally renowned Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveiera on the power of thought and desire, and on good and evil, provide the underlying themes for this interesting reworking of the story of Faust. The story centers on the unconventional American professor, Michael Padovic, and his stunningly beautiful wife, Helene, who journey to an eerie Portuguese convent to prove that Shakespeare was in reality, a Jewish Spaniard. They journey to the spooky old convent of Arrabida where they are housed by the sophisticated, but rather creepy guardian of the monastery, Baltar, who immediately seems attracted to the cool Helene. In order to spend more time with her, Baltar arranges for Michael to spend all his time in the convent's great library; he is assisted by a beautiful young librarian. It is the wicked Baltar who tries to tempt Michael (in the way that Mephistopheles tempted Faust) into becoming immortal through his research and writing.