The play begins with the return of Krum, the prodigal son, to the delight of his mother and friends. He returns home as a failure to a community suffering from widespread resignation, loneliness, and apathy. Krum soon succumbs to the pervasive malaise; he becomes a passive observer of the persistent rhythm of marriages, births, and funerals that have become so devoid of significance that weddings resemble wakes. The characters in Krum are willing to endure great sacrifice and humiliation to escape from their solitude, but time and again they surrender to passivity. Having lost all of his youthful passion, Krum is forced to confront his own mortality and unfulfilled desires instead of sinking further into a static life.