Viridiana, a young novice about to take her final vows as a nun, accedes, moved purely by a sense of obligation, to a request from her widowed uncle to visit him. Stirred by her resemblance to his late wife, he attempts to seduce her and tragedy ensues. In the aftermath, Viridiana tries to assuage her guilt by creating a haven for the destitute folk who live around her uncle's estate. But little good comes from these good intentions.
A young postulant, Viridiana, is about to take her final vows as a nun when she reluctantly sets out to visit her only relative, an uncle she barely remembers. He is most welcoming, but when she is ready to return to the convent he insists that she stay. He has become infatuated with her and wants to marry her; when she flatly refuses, he drugs her to keep her near, but she will not bend to his will, which leads to tragedy. Now alone, Viridiana does her best to help the poor, but nothing seems to work out well.
Viridiana is a novice at a Spanish convent. She finds comfort in the solitude of convent life. Before she takes her final vows and becomes cloistered within the convent walls as a nun, her Mother Superior directs her to visit her Uncle Jaime at his farm, one last time before he dies. Despite Uncle Jaime having paid for her education, Viridiana is reluctant to visit him, both because she's uncomfortable outside the convent, and because she's only met him once in her life and doesn't feel close to him. The visit leads to actions and decisions with disastrous, tragic consequences and/or results. One decision is that Viridiana changes her mind about returning the convent, feeling that she can no longer do so. She redirects her work in the name of God to the down-and-outs in the nearby village, One of Uncle Jaime's actions leads to the return of his estranged adult son Jorge, whose presence at the farm may be in stark contrast to Viridiana's wants, again all in the name of God.
Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.
- Just before taking her final vows, a young idealistic nun Viridiana (Silvia Pinal) is requested by her Superior Mother to visit her uncle Don Jaime (Fernando Rey) who has funded her education and provided for the girl for many years. Viridiana has a low opinion of her uncle considering him a horrible person but agrees to visit him to say farewell before her entry into her religious career. When she arrives at Don Jaimes mansion she finds the man to be a quite gracious recluse living quietly with only his housekeeper and caretaker to maintain. Don Jaime confesses to Viridiana that his wife died on their wedding night and that the young nun-to-be is so similar to his dead wife that he wants her to stay with him for good. Viridiana is shocked and decides to leave immediately but Don Jaime drugs the young woman and attempts to make love to her but suffering a bout of guilt, decides against it. The next day Viridiana believes she has been violated during the night and decides to leave, but before she can the police inform her that Don Jaime has committed suicide and has left the future of his estate to be decided between her and brusque cousin Jorge (Francisco Rabal). As Viridiana acts the gracious owner by caring for the surrounding community of homeless by inviting them into the estate to care and feed for them she realizes that the real world has an endless array of challenges and compromises.