Baal, a poet and singer, drunk, lazy, selfish and ruthless, seduces (among others) a disciple's seventeen-year-old mistress, who drowns herself. He mixes with tramps and drivers and sin's in a cheap nightclub. With his friend the composer Ekart he wanders through the country, drinking and fighting. Sophie, pregnant by him, follows them and likewise drowns herself. Baal seduces Ekart's mistress, then kills him. Hunted by the police and deserted by the woodcutters, he dies alone in a forest hut.