Claiming to have murdered the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the now elderly Antonio Salieri recounts to a priest his dealings with the brilliant composer. Salieri was court composer to Austrian Emperor Joseph II when Mozart and he first met. The Emperor, a major patron of the arts, immediately commissioned Mozart to write an opera in German, rather than the customary Italian. Mozart is childish, arrogant, annoying and brilliant all at once and Salieri is simultaneously in awe and green with envy at his genius. Salieri uses Mozart's difficult relationship with his father and his guilt over being a bad son to drive him slightly mad and into a downward spiral of ill health, leading to his death.