Hans (Hans Hirschmuller) is a lifelong member of the middle-class. His family, especially his wife, Irmgard (Irm Hermann), derides him for his lack of ambition and his chosen profession: running a fruit stand. Eventually, the constant ridicule drives him to alcoholism, and his bout with the bottle lands him in the hospital. While recovering, he hires extra help and watches his business boom. However, his success doesn't alleviate his pain, and his anger and drinking slowly destroy him.