Study Guide

All About Eve Manipulation

Manipulation

EVE: It got so that I couldn't tell the real from the unreal except that the unreal seemed more real to me... I'm talking a lot of gibberish, aren't I?

We think this might be one of Eve's many stellar performances. She knows perfectly well the difference between the real and the unreal, and she uses that to her advantage in order to manipulate people into not knowing what is true. She's presenting herself as just a star-struck dreamer in love with make-believe.

EVE: I mean, you haven't had a minute alone yet, and…well, I could take care of everything here and meet you at the gate with the ticket... if you'd like.

Can you be any more thoughtful than sweetly allowing the lovely couple to have a few moments alone? Here Eve finagles her way into getting a job as Margo's assistant. It's probably the least manipulative of her techniques, because she is useful, and she's good at what she does. However, her ulterior motive is to go from managing Margo's life, to having Margo's life for herself.

ADDISON: Eve was incredibly modest. She insisted that no credit was due her, that Lloyd felt as he did only because she read lines exactly as he had written them.

Eve's alleged "modesty" is definitely one of her most effective tactics. She knows which side her bread is buttered on, and it's buttered on the playwright's side.

MARGO: I'm sure you underestimate yourself, Eve. You always do.

This is Margo calling Eve out on her "false modesty" and it's one of the first clues to Eve that Margo's onto her tricks.

ADDISON: How thoughtful of her to call and invite me that afternoon... and what a happy coincidence that several representatives of other newspapers happened to be present. All of us—invited that afternoon to attend an understudy's performance.

From Addison's intense sarcasm here, you know that he knows what Eve was really up to. At this point, he doesn't mind being a pawn in Eve's game because he knows he can eventually turn the tables and take control of her. A theater critic is extremely influential in making or breaking an actress' career.

LLOYD: it's Addison, from start to finish, it drips with his brand of venom... taking advantage of a kid like that, twisting her words, making her say what he wanted her to say.

Eve and Addison both cooked up this little column, but because Addison's a known nasty creep, it's easy to blame him for twisting Eve's words. Lloyd's still in the dark about Eve's real motivations; she's just an innocent kid manipulated by Addison.

EVE: You know, I've always considered myself a very clever girl. Smart. Good head on my shoulders, that sort of thing, never the wrong word at the wrong time... but then, I'd never met Addison DeWitt. […] You find yourself trying to say what you mean, but somehow the words change…and they become his words…and suddenly you're not saying what you mean, but what he means.

The manipulations are doubling up on themselves so fast here, it's hard to keep track. Eve, of course, blames Addison entirely for twisting her words into the hateful column he wrote about Margo. She's just using him as a scapegoat. The irony is that Addison's column would be plenty hateful without Eve's influence; that's just who he is. At least he's upfront about it.

GIRL: Eve didn't say to call him, but I remembered that I saw Mr. Richards with her a couple of times, and I thought they being such good friends...

Lucky for Eve that she lives in the same building as a girl who's willing to collaborate in her scheme to get Lloyd to her house in the middle of the night. We're not sure what Eve has to do to get this girl to lie to Karen, but the girl's more than happy to do it.

ADDISON: What do you take me for?

EVE: I don't know that I'd take you for anything.

ADDISON: Is it possible, even conceivable, that you've confused me with that gang of backward children you play tricks on, that you have the same contempt for me as you have for them?

EVE: I'm sure you mean something by that, Addison, but I don't know what.

ADDISON: Look closely, Eve. It's time you did. I am Addison DeWitt. I am nobody's fool, least of all yours.

Game over.

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