I would offer that the female characters set the tone in the play. Kate Keller, knows that her husband, Joe is guilty. Kate knows deep down that Larry is gone, however, she continues to perpetuate the myth that he will come home. She goes so far as to preserve his room and clothes. No one is allowed to suggest that Larry is dead. She demands control of this reality and dominates it.
When Annie comes to visit the Kellers' she is Larry's girl, because Kate says so. She is not available for romance with Chris, because she is preserved, like Larry's clothes, for him.
Even George's actions, Ann's brother, are directed by what Ann decides to do, marry Chris. He comes to the Kellers' home to stop his sister from marrying the son of his father's betrayer.
The story's female characters drive the plot, maybe not as directly as the character of Joe Keller, the main character, but they definitely set the pace of the unfolding action.