Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
When Dr. Ostermark visited his painter friend Axel, he found that Axel was married to a young feminist named Bertha, herself an aspiring artist. Axel explained the conditions of his marriage: the two were to live, not as husband and wife, but as comrades, each with equal rights, each free to achieve artistic expression in his own way. Dr. Ostermark, a widower who, earlier in life, had been divorced, was dubious about the whole thing.
While they were talking, a male model arrived. Axel explained that the model was hired for Bertha and that he, forced to paint commercially to pay for Bertha’s art lessons, could not afford one. Carl Starck, a Swedish army officer, and his wife joined the company. They were shocked that the model posed in the nude and that Bertha was left alone with him.
After the company had gone, Bertha returned. There was a slight altercation over finances, but Bertha kept the argument subdued because she had a favor to ask of Axel. Both had submitted paintings to an important show. It seemed certain that Axel’s would be accepted by the jury, but there was much doubt about Bertha’s. She begged Axel to use his influence—especially on the wife of the jury’s chairman—to have her painting accepted. At first Axel claimed that to do so would be unsporting, but Bertha and her two friends, the masculine female, Abel, and the effeminate male, Willmer, finally convinced him to make the attempt. They even talked him into...
(The entire section is 930 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Comrades Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!