During an afternoon in a lounge at a seaside resort, a revenge is played out as a credulous artist has his mind poisoned against his wife by her former husband.
Adolph, a painter-turned-sculptor, is falling under the spell of Gustav, an ill-natured older man whom he has just met. In the guise of friendly male conversation Gustav, Iago-like, makes Adolph dissect his love for his new wife Tekla. She is a novelist whose star is rising while Adolph's falls. We learn that Tekla is Gustav's former wife and she has written about him, characterizing him as an idiot. In an act of revenge, the older man is manipulates the artist to believe that his wife has selfishly robbed him of his creative strength.