In a dark comedy of errors, Iris Murdoch portrays the mischief
wrought by Julius, a cynical intellectual who decides to
demonstrate through a Machiavellian experiment how easily loving
couples, caring friends, and devoted siblings can betray their
loyalties. As puppet master, Julius artfully plays on the human
tendency to embrace drama and intrigue and to prefer the
distraction of confrontations to the difficult effort of
communicating openly and honestly.